Top 10 Earthquakes Ever: Some Facts

June 11, 2018
Remember the last time the earth shook beneath your feet, and the trees swayed in a crazy dance, and those high-rise apartment buildings crumbled like a house of cards? Well, me neither. But then, we live in a hot and happening world, and while we are spared those apocalyptic mood swings, let's take a look at the top ten nightmarish earthquakes ever to occur.

1) Valdivia Earthquake or the Great Chilean Earthquake (1960): Well, the sixties rocked Chile. Literally. With a magnitude of 9.4-9.6, it lasted for ten minutes. Ten minutes! The epicenter was in Lumaco, and the tsunami which raged soon after, affected Southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, Philippines, Eastern New Zealand, South east Australia and Aleutian Island. It was deadly, with around 1000-7000 people dead, and 20,000 homeless!

2) Great Alaskan Earthquake (1964): Also known as the Good Friday Earthquake (but that was a bad Friday), this one's magnitude was 9.2 and lasted for 4 minutes, 30 seconds. The epicenter was 20 km north of Prince William Sound, and it was responsible for a subsequent tsunami and great damage (worst in the Anchorage) which included ground fissures, collapsing structure among others, and atleast 139 deaths.

3) Indian Ocean Earthquake (2004): Brace yourselves, folks, for this one is touted as the deadliest among the 21st century earthquakes so far! With a magnitude of 9.1-9.3, and the epicenter being off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, this undersea megathrust earthquake and the tsunami which tagged along, killed around 230,000-280,000 people in four countries! (Now that was scary!)

4) Tohoku Earthquake or the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011): This 9.0-9.1 earthquake was especially scary as the tsunami afterwards caused nuclear accidents! (Remember Fukushima? Whew, that was a close shave!) This undersea megathrust earthquake's epicenter was 70km east of Oshika Peninsula of Tohoku, and a hypocenter which was as deep as 29 km (approx)! The death toll was reported to be  a massive 15,893!

5) Severo-Kurilsk Earthquake (1952): The fact that this one was a 9.0 magnitude earthquake makes it no better than the rest, unfortunately! The coast of the Kamatchatka Peninsula was the unsuspecting victim, and the subsequent tsunami (not again!) devastated the Severo-Kurilsk, Kuril Islands, Sakhalin Obcast, Russian SFSR, USSR. Atleast 2336 people were killed.

6) Arica Earthquake (1868): This happened when Arica was still a part of Peru, and not Chile. It had a magnitude of 8.5-9.0, and then the tsunami (don't blame us for this online deja-vu!) roared and raged, with Hawaii, Japan, Australia and New Zealand bearing the brunt. The death toll was 70,000, but that's not the end of this horror story, as apparently there are great risks of similar devastation in the future!

7) Arakan Earthquake (1962): Okay. 8.8 magnitude sounds about right when compared with those megathrust earthquakes. But, not exactly, as it lasted for about four minutes, the epicenter concentrated somewhere along the coast from Chittagong (Bangladesh as of now) to Irakan in Modern Burma, with atleast 200 dead.

8) Ecuador Colombia Earthquake (1906): The death toll for this 8.8 magnitude earthquake was between 500-1500, and the tsunami did not make it easier for the coastal region as it unleashed havoc. Well, another earthquake occurred in the same area in 2016, so you can well imagine the danger that lurks there!

9) Rat Islands Earthquake (1965): This one's a little kinder, caused very little damage at 8.7 magnitude, despite the tsunami waves rising over 10 metre on Shemya Islands. But the bad news is that another one popped its head back in June 2014, leaving room for those fearful conjectures.

10) Assam-Tibet Earthquake (1950): If you're from Assam, you've already heard about this earthquake hundreds of time, thrown at you randomly. It was on 15th of August that this 8.6 earthquake shook both Tibet and Assam, the noteworthy feature being the continental collision (Guess the late nineties were both awesome, and SAFER, than the shaky past!). The death toll was 4,800 (approx), and the aftershocks were, well, shocks, with 6 magnitude each!

Can we take a moment, and heave a sigh of relief that we didn't face the music of Mother Nature? Well, there's the Cascadia Earthquake of 1700, and one from Sumatra (1833), which had to be left out due to lack of verifiable records, but if you're feeling a bit adventurous, go for it, and ransack the internet!

Post Written by - Lopamudra

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