Find out which were the deadliest earthquakes in history
Major disasters caused by earthquakes occurred mainly in Asian countries, which are overpopulated, and in places where the infrastructure was too fragile to withstand the tremors.
The strong earthquakes registered between dawn and morning this Monday, 6, in Turkey, left thousands of dead and wounded in the country and also in Syria. The strength of the tremors was so great that the exact size of the tragedy, which already accumulates more than 2,300 dead, is still unknown. The two earthquakes recorded were of magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 degrees on the Richter scale, respectively. These are one of the biggest tremors in recent years. However, throughout history, other earthquakes have been more intense or just as strong, but with a greater volume of death and destruction. From 8 degrees on the scale, earthquakes can cause death and destruction in a radius of up to 100 kilometers away. However, most of the tremors that exceeded this value and are among the largest earthquakes ever recorded occurred in uninhabited areas of the planet and did not cause much damage. The biggest disasters caused by earthquakes occurred in urban centers, mainly in Asian countries that are overpopulated and where buildings were too fragile to withstand earthquakes, even if they are not among the most intense ever observed. Check below the list of the five deadliest earthquakes in history and the five strongest earthquakes ever recorded..
Shensi Earthquake, China (1556)
According to projections by scientists, the greatest tragedy caused by an earthquake would have happened in the central region of China, on January 23, 1556. Considered the worst natural disaster ever recorded, the earthquake is estimated to have reached about 8.3 on the Richter scale and hit eight provinces and 98 cities. Projections indicate that certain cities lost 60% of their population due to burials. The estimate is 830,000 dead.
Tangshan earthquake, China (1976)
With an estimated 250,000 dead and an estimated 800,000 injured, the northeast region of China was affected by an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale on July 27, 1976. It occurred during the night, most of the inhabitants were in home when the earthquake hit, which amplified the damage. As data from the Chinese government at the time are disputed by experts, there is also an estimate that the total number of deaths may have reached 650,000.
Sumatra earthquake, Indonesia (2004)
The first natural disaster on the list that occurred in the 21st century is actually an earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. In this case, an earthquake that occurred in the middle of the ocean generated giant waves that killed about 228,000 people in total. The affected areas were the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia, as well as Sri Lanka, India, Somalia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Maldives. With a magnitude of 9.1 on the Richter scale, the quake was also one of the largest ever recorded by a seismograph.
Haiti earthquake (2010)
The earthquake of Haiti 2010 was a catastrophic earthquake of magnitude 7 on the Richter scale that had its epicenter in the eastern part of the Tiburon peninsula, about 25 km from the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, on January 12, 2010. that more than 200,000 people died, 350,000 were injured and 1.3 million were left homeless, such was the destruction of homes around the area impacted by the earthquakes.
Kansu Earthquake, China (1920)
Occurring in the center-north of the country, it is estimated that this earthquake killed over 200,000 people on December 16, 1920. The region had not felt a tremor for 280 years. About ten cities were hit and, at the time, the tremor was registered at 7.8 on the Richter scale, but experts point out that the earthquake was closer to 8.5.
Strongest earthquakes ever recorded (Richter Scale)
- Chile (1960) – 9.5 degrees
- Alaska, United States (1964) – 9.2 degrees
- Sumatra, Indonesia (2004) – 9.1 degrees
- Honshu, Japan (2011) – 9.0 degrees
- Kamchatka, Russia (1952) – 9.0 degrees
I have been working as a journalist for over 10 years. In that time, I have covered the news from all corners of the world, and written about everything from politics to business.I’m now a full-time author, and my work can be found at Global happenings. My aim is to bring you up-to-date news and views on global affairs, in a format that is easy to read and understand.
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