The five strongest earthquakes in history

The five strongest earthquakes in history

An earthquake struck southeast Turkey on Monday, killing more than 1,000 people. With a magnitude of 7.8, the tremor is among the strongest in recent years.

But much more powerful and deadly tremors have hit the planet in the past. The most violent on record happened in Chile, in 1960, with a magnitude of 9.5, according to data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The earthquake’s epicenter was located in Valdivia, in the south of the country, and left 2,000 dead and 2 million injured. It also caused eruptions of volcanoes and a seaquake that destroyed cities on the Chilean coast.

In the 21st century, the strongest tremors were recorded in Indonesia in 2004 and Japan in 2011.

The two episodes are tied at 9.1 magnitude. But the tragedy left by the earthquake on the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra was greater.

The ensuing tsunami hit 14 countries in South Asia and East Africa. In all, about 230,000 people died or were missing and 1.7 million were left homeless.

Considering all the tremors recorded in this century, the one that shook Turkey and Syria this Monday would be among the 20 strongest, tied with others of magnitude 7.8. They are the ones registered on the coast of Alaska, in the USA, in 2020, and in Nepal in 2015. The latter left almost 9 thousand dead.

By the number of fatalities, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti is still the deadliest on the USGS list (despite not being among the most intense): it left 316,000 dead.

Check out, below, the list of the five largest earthquakes ever recorded, according to the United States Geological Survey.

1 – Chile

Date: 05/22/1960

Magnitude: 9.5

On the night of May 22, 1960, Chile was hit hard by the biggest earthquake recorded on the planet.

Approximately 1,600 people died, 3,000 were injured and more than 2 million lost their homes. The estimated loss for Chile was US$ 550 million (or R$ 2.8 billion).

The earthquake was followed by a tsunami, which left 61 dead in the US state of Hawaii, 138 in Japan and 32 in the Philippines.

2 – Alaska (USA)

Date: 03/28/1964

Magnitude: 9.2

The earthquake, which was followed by a tsunami, took the lives of 131 people and caused damages of around US$ 2.3 billion (R$ 11.5 billion). The effects of the tremor were strongly felt in several American cities.

3 – Sumatra (Indonesia)

Date: 12/26/2004

Magnitude: 9.1

At 12:58 am on December 26, 2004, a massive earthquake struck the west coast of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.

The tsunami that followed the earthquake hit 14 countries in South Asia and East Africa.

In all, the tragedy left around 230,000 people dead or missing and 1.7 million people homeless.

4 – Honshu (Japan)

Date: 03/11/2011

Magnitude: 9.0

At least 15,700 people were killed, 4,600 reported missing and 5,300 injured when an earthquake followed by a tsunami flattened the east coast of Honshu, Japan’s largest and most populous island.

The combination of earthquake and tsunami also left more than 130,000 people homeless and destroyed 300,000 homes and buildings. Most deaths occurred in the cities of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

The waves reached 38 meters high. The total damage to Japan was estimated at US$309 billion (R$1.5 trillion).

5 – Kamchatka (Russia)

Date: 11/04/1952

Magnitude: 9.0

An earthquake followed by a tsunami hit the Kamchatka peninsula, in Russia’s far east, in 1952. No deaths were reported, largely because the region is sparsely populated.

However, the tsunami hit Hawaii, in the United States, causing losses of around US$ 1 million (R$ 5.1 million). The waves destroyed boats, houses, piers and roads.

This text was originally published here.

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