In Pictures: Destruction caused by the largest earthquakes in history.

Kamchatka, Russia (1952) – 9 magnitude.

The 1952 Severo-Kurilsk earthquake struck off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The 9.0 Mw earthquake triggered a major tsunami that hit Severo-Kurilsk, Kuril Islands, Sakhalin Oblast, Russian SFSR, USSR, on 4 November 1952 at 16:58 (UTC). This led to the destruction of many settlements in Sakhalin Oblast and Kamchatka Oblast, while the main impact struck the town of Severo-Kurilsk. It was the fifth most powerful earthquake since 1900, and to date, the most powerful earthquake in Russian history.


Pacific Ocean, close to Japan (2011) – 9.1 Magnitude.

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March. The magnitude 9.0–9.1 (Mw) undersea megathrust earthquake had an epicenter in the Pacific Ocean, 72 km (45 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of the Tōhoku region, and lasted approximately six minutes, causing a tsunami. It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that may have reached heights of up to 40.5 meters (133 ft) in Miyako in Tōhoku’s Iwate Prefecture, and which, in the Sendai area, traveled at 700 km/h (435 mph) and up to 10 km (6 mi) inland.


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Indian Ocean, close to Indonesia (2004) – 9.1 magnitude.

The April 2010 Sumatra earthquake occurred on April 7 at 5:15 AM local time with a moment magnitude of 7.8 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). The shock occurred near Banyak Islands, off the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. A tsunami watch was issued according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu which was later canceled. A 40 cm surge was reported in the Banyak Islands an hour after the quake, along with 62 injuries. Power outages were reported throughout the province of North Sumatra as well as in Aceh. This quake is one of the sequence of large earthquakes along the Sunda megathrust in 2000s.


Prince William Sound, Alaska, United States (1964) – 9.2 magnitude.

The 1964 Alaskan earthquake, also known as the Great Alaskan earthquake and Good Friday earthquake, occurred at 5:36 PM AKST on Good Friday, March 27. Across south-central Alaska, ground fissures, collapsing structures, and tsunamis resulting from the earthquake caused about 131 deaths. Lasting four minutes and thirty-eight seconds, the magnitude 9.2 megathrust earthquake remains the most powerful earthquake recorded in North American history, and the second most powerful earthquake recorded in world history.


Valdivia, Chile (1960) – 9.5 magnitude.

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake and tsunami (Spanish: Terremoto de Valdivia) or the Great Chilean earthquake (Gran terremoto de Chile) on 22 May 1960 was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. Various studies have placed it at 9.4–9.6 on the moment magnitude scale. It occurred in the afternoon (19:11 GMT, 15:11 local time), and lasted for approximately 10 minutes. The resulting tsunamis affected southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia, and the Aleutian Islands. The epicenter of this megathrust earthquake was near Lumaco, approximately 570 kilometres (350 mi) south of Santiago, with Valdivia being the most affected city.

REFERENCES: Wikipedia.

IMAGE CREDITS: Creative Commons.


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