6 Biggest Earthquakes that Have Affected Earth

Earthquakes can be one of the deadliest natural disasters.

While the Earth’s crust experiences countless earthquakes all the time, sometimes the released energy causes great destruction to humans and infrastructure.

Here we have gathered some of the biggest earthquakes to ever be recorded in human history:

6. Bio-bio, Chile, 27 February 2010

Magnitude – 8.8

This earthquake and following tsunami killed at least 521 people, with 56 missing and 12,000 injured. More than 800,000 people were displaced with a total of 1.8m people affected in Chile. The epicenter was 335 km south-west of Santiago, at a depth of 35 km. A minor tsunami travelled across the Pacific causing damage to boats as far away as San Diego, California.

5. Kamchatka, Russia, 4 November 1952

Magnitude – 9.0

The Kamchatka Tsunami was generated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on November 4, 1952, in East Russia. The local tsunami, which generated waves as high as 50 feet, caused damage to the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Kuril Islands, and left around 15,000 people dead.

4. Sendai, Japan, 11 March 2011

Magnitude – 9.0

This one was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since the 1900. The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that may have reached heights of up to 40.5 meters. This earthquake along with the tsunami caused 15,897 deaths.

3. Sumatra, Indonesia, 26 December 2004

Magnitude – 9.1

In terms of damage and loss of life, the scale of the disaster caused by the resulting Boxing Day Tsunami was enormous. In total, 227,900 people were killed or presumed dead, with around 1.7 million displaced. The epicenter was 250 km south-east of Band Aceh, Indonesia, at a depth of 30 km. Several days later on 28 December, a mud volcano began erupting near Baratang, Andamar Islands, which is thought to have been associated with the earthquake.

2. Prince William Sound, Alaska, 28 March 1964

Magnitude – 9.2

Compared to the Chilean earthquake, this one did less damage. Was felt mainly over Alaska, as well as some places in Canada, while a tsunami created by it caused damage as far away as Hawaii. The most affected by the earthquake was the city of Anchorage, 120 km north-west of the epicenter. It was reported that shakings from the quake lasted three minutes.

1. Valdivia, Chile, 22 May 1960

Magnitude – 9.5

This earthquake killed 1655 people, injured 3000 and displaced two million. It caused US$550 million damage in Chile, while the tsunami that followed it caused deaths and damage as far away as Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines. The movement lasted for about 11 minutes. Two days after the initial quake, the nearby volcano Puyehue erupted, sending ash and steam up to 6 km into the atmosphere over a period of several weeks.