Natural disasters happen all the time. From tsunamis to hurricanes, to tidal waves and forest fires. But one of the most destructive of all would be the earthquake. The higher the magnitude, the bigger the damages and human casualties. Throughout the history there have been many deadly earthquakes that have taken millions of human lives and completely destroyed the areas where it occurred. In a previous post we’ve gathered the deadliest maritime disasters of all time and now we want to show you 11 of the most devastating and deadly earthquakes in human history.
11. Valdivia Earthquake (1960)
Also known as the Great Chilean Earthquake, it happened on May 22nd 1960 and it’s one of the most devastating earthquakes in history that was ever recorded, with a magnitude of 9.5. It caused tsunamis in Hawaii, Chile, Japan, Eastern New Zealand, Southeast Australia, Alaska and the Philippines. The death toll was estimated at around 6000 human victims and the total amount of the damages was estimated between 2.9 to 5.8 billion dollars.
10. Indian Ocean Earthquake (2004)
One of the most devastating earthquakes and also the deadliest happened in 2004 in the Indian Ocean, with an epicenter in the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. This caused extremely violent tsunamis along the Indian Ocean and it included regions like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and India. The magnitude of this deadly earthquake was estimated between 9.1 and 9.3, taking nearly 230,000 human lives. It still is one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.
9. Alaska Earthquake (1964)
Known as the Great Alaska Earthquake, it hit the south-central part of Alaska with a magnitude of 9.2, lasting almost 5 minutes, making it the most powerful earthquake recorded in North American and U.S history, killing 131 people. The property damages were estimated at around 311 million dollars.
8. Kamchatka Earthquake (1952)
This earthquake hit with a magnitude of 9.0, affecting the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Kuril Islands and Hawaii. There weren’t any known human casualties but the damages were estimated at 1 million dollars at that time.
7. Arica Earthquake (1868)
This deadly earthquake happened near Arica, a part of Peru back then. It caused tsunamis in the Pacific Ocean, damaging Peru, Hawaii and the Charham Islands in New Zealand. The regions Arica, Ilo, Tacna, Mollendo, Arequipa and Iquique were completely destroyed, causing the death of 25,000 people. The Arica earthquake had a magnitude of 9.0 and 400 aftershocks.
6. Cascadia Earthquake (1700)
With a magnitude between 8.7 and 9.2, this earthquake occurred in the Cascadia subduction zone in 1700, causing tsunamis that reached all the way to Japan.
5. Sumatra Earthquake (1833)
This caused a large tsunami between Pariaman and Bengkulu and it possibly damaged Seychelles, with 14 aftershocks occurring along the arc of Sumatra towards Nicobar and the Andaman Islands. It had a magnitude of 9.2 and records say that there were numerous victims.
4. Haiti Earthquake (2010)
This deadly earthquake took place on the 12th of January in 2010 and it had a magnitude of 7.o, killing 222,570 people, injuring another 300,000, destroying thousands of houses in the Port-au-Prince and the southern Haiti areas.
3.Kanto Earthquake (1923)
This 7.9 magnitude earthquake was one of the most devastating earthquakes in Japan, killing 142, 800 people and it’s known as the Great Tokyo Earthquake, destroying nearly 1 million houses in the tremors and the subsequent fires.
2. Most Devastating Earthquakes In History – Tangshan Earthquake (1976)
This earthquake is one of the deadliest in human history, with a magnitude of 7.5 and with an estimated death toll of 655,000 victims. It shattered China as far as Beijing.
1. Shaanxi Earthquake (1556)
This earthquake happened on January 23 and is known as the most devastating earthquake in history, killing 830,000 people and destroying an area of 520 miles. It was felt in 97 countries and it had a magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter scale, resulting in crevices and landslides of more than 20 meters deep. It happened in the China region of Shaanxi and it destroyed 60% of this region’s population.
Other devastating earthquakes throughout history:
Ardabil, Iran, March. 23, 893 – 150,000 deaths
Damghan, Iran, Dec. 22, 856 – 200,000 deaths
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Oct. 5, 1948 – 110,000 deaths