10 Most Powerful Earthquakes since 1900
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Earthquakes can leave region dealing with destruction and loss. Here is a list of the 10 most powerful earthquakes recorded since 1900 according to the U.S. Geological Society. An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time. Earthquakes are measured with a seismometer; a device that also records is called a seismograph.
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Valdivia, Chile - May 22, 1960
The 1960 Valdivia earthquake or Great Chilean earthquake of 22 May 1960 is to date the most powerful earthquake ever recorded on earth, rating 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale. It occurred in the afternoon (19:11 GMT, 14:11 local time) and its resulting tsunami affected southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia, and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.
1964 Alaska Earthquake
The 1964 Alaska earthquake, also known as the Great Alaskan Earthquake, the Portage Earthquake and the Good Friday Earthquake, was a megathrust earthquake that began at 5:36 P.M. AST on Good Friday, March 27, 1964. Across south-central Alaska, ground fissures, collapsing buildings, and tsunamis resulting from the temblor caused about 131 deaths.
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake. The resulting tsunami is given various names, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Asian Tsunami, Indonesian Tsunami, and Boxing Day Tsunami.
The earthquake was caused by subduction and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesia was the hardest hit, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.
With a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, it is the third largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. This earthquake had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10 minutes.
2011 Sendai Japan earthquake
The 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami was an 8.9 to 9.1-MW megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred on 11 March 2011. The epicenter was reported to be 130 kilometers (81 mi) off the east coast of the Oshika Peninsula, Tohoku, with the hypocenter at a depth of 24.4 kilometers (15.2 mi). It was locally measured at the maximum possible 7 on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale in the northern Miyagi Prefecture, Japan,6 in other prefectures and 5 in Tokyo.
1954 Kamchatka, Russia earthq...
The main earthquake struck at 16:58 GMT (04:58 local time) on November 4, 1952. Initially assigned a magnitude of 8.2, the quake was revised to 9.0 Mw in later years. A large tsunami resulted, causing destruction and loss of life around the Kamchatka peninsula and the Kuril Islands. Hawaii was also struck, with estimated damages of up to US$1 million and livestock losses, but no human casualties were recorded. Japan also reported no casualties or damage. The tsunami reached as far as Alaska, Chile, and New Zealand.
The hypocentre was located at 52°45'N 159°30'E? / ?52.75°N 159.5°E? / 52.75; 159.5, at a depth of 30 km. The length of the subduction zone fracture was 600 km. Aftershocks were recorded in an area of approximately 247,000 km2, with epicenters at depths of between 40 and 60 km. A recent analysis of the tsunami runup distribution based on historical and geological records give some indication as to the slip distribution of the rupture.
The 2010 Chilean earthquake occurred off the coast of the Maule Region of Chile on February 27, 2010, at 03:34 local time (06:34 UTC), rating a magnitude of 8.8 on the moment magnitude scale, and lasting up to 3 minutes. It ranks as the sixth largest earthquake ever to be recorded by a seismograph. It was felt strongly in eight Chilean regions (from Coquimbo in the north to Los Ríos in the south), that together make up 80 percent of the country's population. The cities experiencing the strongest shaking—IX (Ruinous) on the Mercalli intensity scale—were Arauco and Coronel, Chile. The earthquake was felt in the capital Santiago at Mercalli intensity scale VIII (Destructive).
The 1906 Ecuador-Colombia earthquake occurred at 15:36 UTC on January 31, off the coast of Ecuador, near Esmeraldas. The earthquake had a magnitude of 8.8 and triggered a destructive tsunami that caused at least 500 casualties on the coast of Colombia.
1965 Rat Islands earthquake
The 1965 Rat Islands earthquake occurred at 05:01 UTC, on 4 February. It had a magnitude of 8.7 and triggered a tsunami of over 10 m on Shemya Island, but caused very little damage.
2005 Northern Sumatra, Indone...
The 2005 Sumatra earthquake, referred to as the Nias Earthquake by the scientific community, was a major earthquake on 28 March 2005, located off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Approximately 1300 people were killed by the earthquake, mostly on the island of Nias. The event caused panic in the region, which had previously been devastated by the massive tsunami triggered by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, but this earthquake generated a relatively tiny tsunami that caused limited damage. It was the third most powerful earthquake since 1965 in Indonesia.
1957 Andreanof Islands Alaska...
The 1957 Andreanof Islands earthquake was a magnitude 8.6 MW megathrust earthquake that took place on March 9, 1957. It was centered south of the Andreanof Islands group of the Aleutian Islands in the U.S. state of Alaska.
The earthquake caused damage to infrastructure on Adak Island and Umnak Island, as well as causing an eruption of long-dormant volcano Mount Vsevidof. It also caused a tsunami that reached a height of 16 meters (52 ft) and caused around $5,000,000 in damage in Hawaii, destroying two villages on Oahu, and two bridges in the Aleutian region. No lives were lost in either the earthquake or the tsunami.