Added on: 12th Feb 2015
When it comes to the earthquake’s magnitude, the 1960
Valdivia earthquake takes the cake at 9.5, which was equivalent
to a massive 178-Gigatons of power. This can be comparable to
1,000 atomic bombs going off at the same time. The earthquake was not
only felt in Valdivia but also reached Hawaii, at a distance of 435 miles.
While only 6,000 people died in the catastrophe, it incurred more
than $1 billion worth of damages.
This earthquake has sometimes been called the deadliest
earthquake in history. The incident happened on January 23, 1556 in
Shaanxi, China and devastated an area of 520 miles. It was felt in
97 countries; and resulted in more than 20 metres deep crevices
and landslides, which collapsed numerous dwellings. The death toll of
this devastating earthquake was 830,000, which is over 60% of the
region’s population. Its magnitude was only 8.0 on the Richter
Scale or only 1-Gigaton, but the costs cannot be written in
This earthquake hit the sea bed of the Indian Ocean on December 26,
2004 with a magnitude of 9.1 to 9.3 or over 32-Gigatons, and caused
the Boxing Day Tsunami. This was the second highest seismic activity
recorded with the longest duration of tremors. The after-effects even
reached Maldives and Thailand, with more than 5 tsunamis hitting the
coastlines of the Indian Sea. It had a death toll of 100,100 to 225,000
with over $7 billion worth of rescue and damage costs during the first
8.3 to 10 minutes alone.
This disaster happened near the town of Aleppo in Syria on October 11,
1138. The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 8.5 or 2.8-Gigaton,
was labelled as the fourth worst earthquake disaster in the world.
Catastrophes included a nearby church that fell on itself causing the
death of 600 guards and citizens, and total death toll of 230,000.
A number of towns near the tremor were completely destroyed and
had to be rebuilt to become habitable again.
This tragedy happened on July 28, 1976 in Tangshan, Hebei and
killed 255,000 people though the Chinese government first recorded
its death toll at 655,000. The 8.2 magnitude or 2.2-Gigaton quake
only lasted for 10 seconds, but brought a lot of devastation to the
area. In addition, Tangshan is a region with a very low-risk for earthquakes,
so the buildings were not earthquake-proof. The quake was 4 miles long
and 5 miles wide, which left a total damage of 10 billion Yuan or $1.3 billion.
HAIYUAN COUNTY, CHINA
Also called ‘the 1920 Gansu Earthquake,’ this disaster happened
in Haiyuan County, Ningxia. Though there were conflicting reports on its
magnitude and death toll, as both the Chinese government and the
United States Geological Survey (USGS) published different reports,
it still brought catastrophic effects that were felt for over 125 miles
and aftershocks that lasted over 3 years. The December 16, 1920
quake has conflicting magnitudes of 7.8 and 8.5 and death tolls of
200,000 or 240,000.
The Haiti earthquake was a magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale, with
an epicentre near Leogane, 25 km west of its capital, Port-au-Prince.
It struck on January 12, 2010 where at least 52 aftershocks measuring
4.5 or greater could still be felt even 12 days later. The earthquake left
a devastating wake of 316,000 deaths, 300,000 injured and 1,000,000
people homeless. It was estimated that 250,000 houses and 30,000
commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely destroyed.
Xining, which lies on the Huangshui River on the eastern part of
Quinghai Province, experienced a magnitude 7.9 seismic activity on
May 22, 1927. It killed 40,900 people though there were other reports
that the death toll could be as high as 200,000. The earthquake was not
only deadly but it also brought large fractures, damages to over 500
schools and office buildings causing many people to lose their
occupations. This was also linked to the Great Gansu Earthquake.
The earliest record-breaking earthquake as it happened on December
22, 856, this earthquake struck Damghan, the capital of Iran at that
time with a magnitude of 8.0 or 1-Gigaton power. It killed 200,000 people,
with tremors that could be felt throughout the surrounding areas of
Damghan causing these areas to be totally destroyed as well, though
Damghan itself was not severely damaged. A great example was
Bustam, a nearby town, which was completely levelled by the quake.