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Major Earthquakes In The World And What Can Magnitude 10 Earthquakes Do?

major earthquakes in the world
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Earthquakes are like any other natural disaster, unpredictable and absolutely devastating to the people and infrastructure. Although now, the rate of deaths caused by an earthquake has decreased significantly since people have started inventing smart measures to live through the disaster, it still poses the most major threat to humanity, among other natural disasters. There have been some deadliest earthquakes in history that are still remembered as the major earthquakes in the world. Here is the list of biggest earthquakes in history with the top 10 biggest earthquakes ever. Keep reading to know about the biggest earthquakes in the world along with the threats and damage they caused to humankind.

List of Biggest Earthquakes in History

Below is the list of biggest earthquakes in history of world:

  1. Valdivia, 1960 – Magnitude 9.5
  2. Prince William Sound, 1964 – Magnitude 9.2
  3. Sumatra, 2004 – Magnitude 9.1
  4. Sendai, 2011 – Magnitude 9.1
  5. Kamchatka, 1952 – Magnitude 9.0
  6. Maule, 2010 – Magnitude 8.8
  7. Ecuador, 1906 – Magnitude 8.8
  8. Rat Islands, 1965 – Magnitude 8.7
  9. Assam-Tibet, 1950 – Magnitude 8.6
  10. Sumatra, 2005 – Magnitude 8.6

The Biggest Earthquakes Ever – Major Earthquakes In The World To Not Miss

1. Valdivia, 1960 – Magnitude 9.5

The first on the list of biggest earthquakes in history is known to be the Valdivia earthquake. It is also called the Great Chilean Earthquake. In the entire history of the world’s record, this was of the highest magnitude ever. The earthquake hit the coastal city of Valdivia about 160 km away from the coast on 22nd May, 1960. 

It also triggered a tsunami with waves 82 feet high. The double disaster wreaked havoc in the town and the death toll is expected between 1000 to 6000 with 3000 people injured.

Valdivia, 1960 - Magnitude 9.5

2. Prince William Sound, 1964 – Magnitude 9.2

This Alaskan earthquake hit the Prince William Sound region on 27th March 1964 in the evening, which was also Good Friday. One of the biggest earthquakes ever, the duration of the earthquake was about 4.5 minutes and it triggered a tsunami with a wave height of 27 feet. It washed out the entire Chenega village, the survivors only being 23 out of 68 people living in the village. 

The earthquake also caused an underwater landslide causing the collapse of Port Valdez city harbour and docks, killing 30 people. Subsequent tsunamis in Alaska, Oregon and California killed about 124 people.

Prince William Sound, 1964 - Magnitude 9.2

3. Sumatra, 2004 – Magnitude 9.1

Nearly 25,000 deaths were caused by the earthquake that hit the west coast of Sumatra on 26 December 2004. It was the deadliest earthquake in the history of the world that caused the rupture of 1500 km of fault length, the greatest ever. 

The Indian Ocean earthquake lasted for 10 minutes with an energy release in the earth’s surface that was 1500 times the Hiroshima atomic bomb explosion. It triggered tsunamis 100 feet high that resulted in a lot of casualties.

deadliest earthquakes in history Sumatra, 2004 - Magnitude 9.1
Image: AP

4. Sendai, 2011 – Magnitude 9.1

An undersea earthquake hit Japan on 11 March 2011 and possibly tops the deadliest earthquakes in history to ever happen, due to the damage it caused. The waves travelled 10 km into the land, causing more than a million buildings to collapse along with airports, railroads, and roads. 

It also triggered a massive tsunami with waves that were 133 feet high. It was one of the biggest earthquakes ever that caused a major nuclear accident in the Fukushima nuclear power plant as well. The casualties of the disaster went up to 15,894 deaths along with more than 6000 injured and 2562 missing.

biggest earthquakes in the world
AFP-JIJI

5. Kamchatka, 1952 – Magnitude 9.0

Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia was hit by a strong earthquake on 4th November 1952. It triggered a tsunami wave 50 feet high which was very destructive. The tsunami alone killed 15,000 people living in the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril island. The waves travelled so far that a tsunami of 4.6 feet in height was observed in Alaska too.

6. Maule, 2010 – Magnitude 8.8

Another of the list of deadliest earthquakes in history is Maule. This earthquake is also known as the Chile earthquake of 2010. It hit the central Chilean coast on 27th February 2010. The duration was about 3 minutes and triggered a destructive tsunami that damaged several coastal towns. The port of Talcahuano was also damaged by it. The collapsed buildings and everything resulted in the death of 525 people and 25 missings.

7. Ecuador, 1906 – Magnitude 8.8

The Ecuador Colombia earthquake happened on 31st January 1906 near Esmeraldas. The earthquake triggered a tsunami with waves as high as 16 feet. This led to the death of people numbering between 500 to 1500 in both Ecuador and Columbia. The tsunami didn’t just remain there but travelled all the way to Hawaii in 12 hours. Thus making it to hold on the list of the deadliest earthquakes in history.

8. Rat Islands, 1965 – Magnitude 8.7

An earthquake occurred near the Rat islands of Alaska on 4th February 1965. Since the centre was away from human establishments, not much damage was caused compared to the major earthquakes in the world but it triggered a tsunami of wave height of 35 feet. The Amchitka island incurred damage of $10,000 due to flooding while Shemya island was reported to have cracks in runways.

9. Assam-Tibet, 1950 – Magnitude 8.6

Among the world’s biggest earthquakes ever, the Assam-Tibet earthquake is considered very destructive. It killed around 3000 people and caused a lot of damage in the towns and villages of Tibet, Assam, India and China. The Assam earthquake triggered the natural dam of the Subansiri river to break several days later, which was built due to landslides from the earthquake. It submerged numerous villages and killed 536 people.

10. Sumatra, 2005 – Magnitude 8.6

The Nias-Simeulue earthquake hit the west coast of northern Sumatra on 28 March 2005 at around midnight. About 915 deaths were reported from the earthquake. It luckily did not trigger any massive tsunami and little damage was caused. The earthquake lasted for about 2 minutes with eight subsequent aftershocks.

What Will A Magnitude 10 Earthquake Do?

While it is not very likely for the fault lines on the earth to cause an earthquake of magnitude 10, experts say that it will most likely feel similar to an earthquake of magnitude 9 but prolonged for about 30 minutes to an hour. The worst part of it however will be the triggered tsunami. 

It is very likely for the waves to be already set in motion while the earthquake continues, amplifying the intensity of the tsunami due to resonance. This can cause unthinkable damage and that too over a very large area.

Conclusion

Natural calamities are inevitable. And reading about the deadliest and the biggest earthquakes in the world makes it all the more real. However, with growing technologies, the casualties have been reduced, as people are already prepared to take protective measures in case of such disasters. We hope that the provided information gave you an insight into what consequences can the world’s biggest earthquakes lead to.

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