The Strongest Earthquakes Ever Recorded

A list of the four most powerful earthquakes ever. - 8 years ago by

The world has been suffering from too numerous to count devastating natural disasters throughout its history. Modern times have witnessed the ravages of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, tsunami, volcano eruptions, landslides, earthquakes, etc. It would hardly be any kind of relief, but contemporary scientific advances have made such destructive phenomena quite predictable, yet unavoidable. Here are some of the strongest earthquakes that shook the ground and resulted in the most numerous casualties and caused the most severe damages.


1. The 1960 earthquake in Chile, with a magnitude of 9.5

This is considered to be the most powerful earthquake of the 20th century, with more than 1,650 killed, twice as many than that were injured, and approximately 2 million people lost their homes. Southern Chile faced the horror of this memorable natural disaster and recorded damages at the estimation of $550 million. Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, and the US west coast also experienced the devastating shock of the earthquake. An 11.5-meter-wave tsunami ensued; it caused the complete destruction of Puerto Saavedra. There were occurrences of subsidence and uplifts along the Chilean coast. Another ensuing consequence was a Puyehue volcanic eruption, which continued for several days. Experts claim that this horrible disaster could have been more catastrophic, since the earthquake’s foreshocks in a way warned the population and people were wary about what it was to come.


2. The Great Alaska Earthquake in 1964 with magnitude of 9.2

The earthquake itself appeared to be less devastating in comparison to the ensuing tsunami, because the earthquake took 9 casualties and the large soaring waves killed 122. Property loss accounted for $2.3 billion, which amount in 1964 was equivalent to more than 310 million dollars. Anchorage was the city with the most severe property damage. The downtown area lost 30 residential and commercial buildings; the schools experienced such damage that they could hardly be repaired. So much devastation for the short shock duration of 3 minutes! Heavy damage in Anchorage was recorded due to landslides. The area of Turnagain Heights suffered the most, since the displacements led to numerous collapsed beyond repair constructions and blocks angled all around.


3. The relatively recent 2004 megathrust off the west coast of northern Sumatra. Magnitude 9.1

14 Asian and African countries experienced the deadly tsunami waves which were caused by the third biggest earthquake ever recorded. Approximately 230, 000 lost their lives, 170,000 of which were from Indonesia( fortunately, a month later Indonesia estimated the dead toll at 50 ,000). Many of the victims’ bodies were never found. This earthquake had tidal repercussions in the Pacific, Atlantic, and the Indian Oceans. It triggered a volcanic eruption on the Andaman Islands, in Baratang. This is the deadliest tsunami ever recorded in history, since it caused the death of more people than any other.


4. Magnitude 9.0 in Japan, the east coast of Honshu, 2011

It was a really devastating earthquake and an ensuing tsunami, taking 15,703 lives,  4,647 presumed dead, 5,314 injured, more than 332, 000 total loss of buildings, thousands of roads disrupted, tens of bridges collapsed along the line between  Chiba and Aomori. Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima bore the most victims and property damage. Miyako was hit by the highest tsunami runup of nearly 38 m. The damage estimation accounted for 309 billion US dollars. Okuma had some severely damaged nuclear power plant reactors, and Fukushima had its dam failed causing the devastation of 1,800 houses. The ocean disturbance spread giant waves throughout the world: a two-meter-high wave killed a person and ruined houses in Indonesia; some boats and docks wrecked and one person killed in California due to a 247-centimeter-high wave; Hawaii, Peru, the Galapagos islands, Chile, Korea, Taiwan and many others felt the immense power of this highly destructive tsunami.