The biggest earthquakes of the last 100 years
A look at the deadliest earthquakes in the world in the last century. Here are the 10 biggest earthquakes ever recorded.
As the Earth's tectonic plates collide; Giant earthquakes arise, whose accumulated energy can shake the ground, trigger volcanic eruptions, move mountains and cause tsunamis.
Since scientists figured out how to measure earthquake magnitude in the early 1900s, some really big earthquakes have rocked the world. These are the "megathrust" earthquakes, the strongest earthquakes in the world. The majority of these earthquakes occurred in a handful of subduction zones along the seismically active "Ring of Fire" in the Pacific, where tectonic plates crossed each other. Here are the 10 largest earthquakes ever recorded.
1. 1960 in Valdivia, Chile; size 9.5
About 1,655 people died in the largest earthquake ever recorded in Valdivia, Chile, on May 22, 1960. Thousands were injured and left homeless. The earthquake triggered a tsunami that killed 61 people in Hawaii, 138 people in Japan, and 32 people in the Philippines.
2. 1964 Prince William District, Alaska; magnitude 9.2
This great earthquake and the tsunami that followed took 128 lives. Earthquake damage was felt in several towns about 120 km northwest of the epicenter. The earthquake of March 27, 1964 broke apart along a seismically active fault between the North American and Pacific plates. The earthquake lasted about 3 minutes.
3. 2004 Sumatra-Andaman Islands, magnitude 9.1
This earthquake was the third largest in history. It was the largest since the 1964 earthquake in Alaska's Prince William District. About 300,000 people died in 10 countries in Southeast Asia and East Africa due to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. An extremely strong shaking was felt, but the deadliest aspect of this earthquake was the tsunami, which caused more deaths than any other death in recorded history so far. The tsunami was recorded in tide gauges in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans almost worldwide. The great fault zone at sea was as long as California.
4. 2011 Tōhoku, Japan; magnitude 9.1
This 9.1 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011 triggered a tsunami that killed more than 15,700 people, killed more than 4,600, injured more than 5,300, and displaced more than 130,900. The earthquake also damaged the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, leading to one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. This earthquake was the largest ever recorded in Japan.
For weeks after that, powerful aftershocks of magnitude 6.0 and even 7.0 continued to shake the region, sending tsunami waves as far as Hawaii, California and the Galapagos Islands. Even in distant Antarctica, earthquakes broke large chunks of ice from the Sulzberger Ice Shelf.
5. 1952 Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia; magnitude 9.0
The world's first recorded 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred off Kamchatka on November 4, 1952. The earthquake produced a 13-metre tsunami locally. The tsunami even shook California. No one died in this earthquake, but it caused great damage. Waves hurled boats onto the beach, causing homes to collide, piers to collapse, beaches to be eroded and road pavements to be moved.
6. 2010 Offshore Maule, Chile; magnitude 8.8
This earthquake and tsunami that took place on February 27, 2010 hit the center of Chile. At least 500 people died and 800,000 were displaced by the natural disaster. More than 1.8 million people were affected. The earthquake came just one month after the disastrous 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, which killed more than 200,000 people.
7. The 1906 Ecuadorian deficits; magnitude 8.8
It was January 31, 1906, when an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck the coasts of Ecuador and Colombia, creating a powerful tsunami that killed 1,500 people. The tsunami spread along the coast of Central America. It even hit coastlines in San Francisco and Japan.
8. 1965 Rat Islands, Alaska; magnitude 8.7
This earthquake, which occurred on February 4, 1965, caused a 10 m high tsunami to occur. The tsunami spread as far as Hawaii and Japan. The earthquake cracked wooden buildings and split an asphalt runway in two. It was announced that the material damage that occurred after the earthquake was mostly caused by the tsunami.
9. 1950 Assam, Tibet; magnitude 8.6
This earthquake, which took place on August 15, 1950, caused the death of 1,500 people in Eastern Tibet - Assam and India. Ground cracks, large landslides and sand volcanoes have hit the area. The earthquake was felt in some cities of China and India. The earthquake caused massive landslides that blocked the rivers. This earthquake is often referred to as the Assam-Tibet earthquake or the Assam earthquake, although its epicenter is in Tibet. The earthquake occurred at the intersection of the most violent collision of the continental plates on the planet, where the Indian Plate collided with the Eurasian Plate and plunged under it.
10. Off the west coast of North Sumatra in 2012; magnitude 8.6
On April 11, 2012, a magnitude 8.6 tremor struck the coast of northern Sumatra. Because the earthquake was located several kilometers from the coast, only a few settlements in Indonesia, such as Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, experienced severe shaking. It caused only minor structural damage in the metropolitan area. Light shaking can be felt as far away as Mumbai, India and Broome, Australia. Two people died directly in the earthquake, eight died from heart attacks and 12 were injured.