Natural disasters are part of the world we live in, and amongst all, earthquakes are known, to be the most destructive. Earthquakes not only take away a huge number of life but also, destroys the infrastructure of the given region. Today we look into the top 10 strongest earthquakes that ever occurred!
1. 1960 Valdivia earthquake
The 1960 Valdivia earthquake, also referred to as the Great Chilean earthquake, is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. The earthquake has been placed at 9.4–9.6 on the moment magnitude scale. It lasted for 10 minutes but resulted in tsunamis that affect many regions. The epicenter of the earthquake was near Lumaco, which is approximately 570 kilometers away from Valdivia, therefore making it the most affected region. The total number of fatalities was around 5000, and the monetary loss was from US$400 million to $800 million.
2. 1964 Alaskan earthquake
The 1964 Alaskan earthquake, the Great Alaskan earthquake, or the Good Friday earthquake took place on Good Friday, March 27. The earthquake caused ground fissures, collapsing structures, and tsunamis all over Alaska. There were about 131 deaths, even though it lasted for four minutes and thirty-eight seconds. The magnitude of the earthquake was 9.2 making it the most powerful earthquake recorded in North American history.
3. 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, also known as the Boxing Day Tsunami occurred on 26 December. The epicenter of the earthquake was the west coast of northern Sumatra and the magnitude of the earthquake was 9.1–9.3 Mw. The earthquake led to massive tsunami waves that grew up to 30 m (100 ft) high. The tsunamis generated killed almost 227,898 people in 14 countries making it the deadliest disaster of the 21st century.
4. 2011 Tohoku earthquake
The 2011 Tohoku earthquake that took place undersea had a magnitude of 9.0–9.1. The earthquake occurred on the off coast of Japan on Friday 11th March 2011. Its epicenter was approximately 70 kilometers (43 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of the Tōhoku region. It is known to be the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan that killed nearly ten thousand people and disrupted the lives of lakhs of people in Tohoku and other twenty prefectures.
5. 1730 Valparaiso earthquake
The 1730 Valparaiso earthquake took place on July 8 and has an estimated magnitude of 9.1–9.3. The earthquake triggered a severe tsunami of an estimated magnitude of Mt =8.75. The disaster resulted in severe damages from La Serena to Chillan and, also 1,000 km (620 mi) of Chile’s coastline. The amounts of deaths were quite less but, a strong foreshock had caused people to leave their homes.
6. 1952 Severo-Kurilsk earthquake
1952 Severo-Kurilsk earthquake occurred at the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula and has a magnitude of 9.0 Mw. The earthquake leads to massive tsunamis that affected the regions of Severo-Kurilsk, Kuril Islands, Sakhalin Oblast, Russian SFSR, and USSR. Being the most powerful earthquake recorded in Russian history killed almost 2,336 people. But millions had to suffer the trauma of losing their homes and being relocated, to different places around the region.
7. 1868 Arica earthquake
The 1868 Arica earthquake struck on 13 August 1868 near Arica, which was during those days, was a part of Peru. The estimated magnitude of the massive disaster was 8.5 and 9.0. The earthquake generated multiple tsunamis that affected the areas of Hawaii, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. The disaster resulted in 25,000 casualties and a number of shipwrecks.
8. 1700 Cascadia earthquake
The 1700 Cascadia earthquake which, struck the Cascadia subduction zone on January 26, had a magnitude of 8.7–9.2. The fault rupture that occurred had a length of about 1,000 kilometers. Since the earthquake took place a long time ago, there aren’t any specific details about them. Scientists continue to study such horrific events because they warn us about the threat that might take place in the future.
9. 1762 Arakan earthquake
The 1762 Arakan earthquake cropped up on 2 April, with its epicenter being somewhere on the coast from Chittagong to Arakan. The magnitude of the earthquake was as high as 8.8. It triggered tsunamis in the regions of the Bay of Bengal which, caused around 200 deaths. The disaster tore down the buildings and other settlements into pieces. The East India Company’s factory inside the fort was severely damaged too.
10. 1833 Sumatra earthquake
The last one on the list is the 1833 Sumatra earthquake, which struck on November 25, with an estimated magnitude of 8.8–9.2 Mw. The earthquake caused massive tsunamis that flooded the southwestern coast of the island. There is no specific number regarding the casualties, but they were numerous in number. The tsunamis devasted regions along the southwest coast of Sumatra from Pariaman to Bengkulu.