Man has often found himself helpless against the ruthlessness of natural disasters. The recent climate changes have brought an increase in natural catastrophes. With increase in earthquakes and tsunamis, man is fighting a serious battle of its survival. Earthquakes are the major cause of generating tsunamis causing destruction. Here we look at the 10 most deadliest and destructive earthquakes since 1900.
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10. Assam, Tibet
Name: 1950 Assam – Tibet earthquake
Occured: August 15, 1950
Location: Assam, India – Tibet, China
It was the 10th largest earthquake of the 20th century that resulted in 1,526 casualties. The quake was caused by the convergence of two continental plates which resulted in massive land sliding blocking-out the river ways that in-turn generated horrific flooding.
9. Northern Sumatra, Indonesia
Name: 2005 Sumatra earthquake
Occured: March 28, 2005
Location: Sumatra, Indonesia
It was the third most powerful earthquake since 1965 in Indonesia. The earthquake lasted for about two minutes. In the twenty-four hours immediately after the event, there were eight major aftershocks, measuring between 5.5 and 6.0. Approximately 1300 people were killed by this quake.
8. Rat Island, Alaska
Name: 1965 Rat Islands earthquake
Occured: February 4, 1965
Location: Rat Islands, Alaska, USA
The quake triggered a 10m high tsunami but caused little destruction due to its remote location and fortunately no deaths were reported.
7. Off the Coast of Ecuador, Columbia
Name: 1906 Ecuador-Colombia earthquake
Occured: January 31, 1906
Location: Ecuador – Colombia
The quake triggered a destructive tsunami that caused at least 500-1500 casualties on the coast of Colombia.
6. Offshore Maule, Chile
Name: 2010 Chile earthquake
Only a month after the disastrous 7.0 Haiti quake that killed 200,000 people, Chile became the centre of destruction. The quake killed 500 people, displaced 800,000 and 1.8 million were directly affected. The damages were estimated at $30 billion.
5. Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
Name: 1952 Kamchatka earthquakes
Occured: November 4, 1952
Location: Kamchatka, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
It was the first 9.0 magnitude earthquake ever recorded causing destruction and loss of life around the Kamchatka peninsula. Damages of up to US$1 million were estimated.
4. East Coast of Honshu, Japan
Name: 2011 Tōhoku earthquake
Occured: March 11, 2011
Location: Pacific Ocean, Tōhoku region, Japan
The earthquake is also often referred as the Great East Japan Earthquake. It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have hit Japan and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 ft.) which travelled up to 10 km. The quake lasted for approx. 6 minutes killing 29,000 people and damaging Fukushima Nuclear Reactors.
3. Off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra
Name: 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
Occured: December 26, 2004
Location: Indian Ocean, Sumatra, Indonesia
It is the third largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph that lasted between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimetre and triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska. It killed 227,898 people and 1.7 million were displaced by the following tsunami that hit 14 countries in the South-East Asia and East Africa.
2. Prince William, Alaska
Name: 1964 Alaska earthquake
Occured: March 27, 1964
Location: Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA
Lasting four minutes and 38 seconds, it was the most powerful recorded earthquake in U.S. and North American history, and the second most powerful ever measured on a seismograph. The powerful earthquake caused soil liquefaction in the region that caused massive landslides hitting Anchorage’s business sector. It killed 128 people, ruined telephone lines, gas pipes and electrical systems and disrupted the activities in many towns of Alaska. Property damage was estimated at about $311 million.
1. Valdivia, Chile
Name: 1960 Valdivia earthquake
Occured: May 22, 1960
Location: Valdivia, Chile
It is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded, rating 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale. The casualties were estimated from 3,000 – 6,000 while the monetary damages were estimated from US$400 million to 800 million.
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