Lists of earthquakes

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The following is a list of earthquake lists, and of top earthquakes by magnitude and fatalities.

Main lists[edit]

Lists of earthquakes by country[edit]

Largest earthquakes by magnitude[edit]

A pie chart comparing the seismic moment release of the three largest earthquakes for the hundred year period from 1906 to 2005 with that for all earthquakes of magnitudes <6, 6 to 7, 7 to 8 and >8 for the same period
Earthquakes of magnitude 8.0 and greater since 1900. The apparent 3D volumes of the bubbles are linearly proportional to their respective fatalities.[1]

Listed below are all known earthquakes measured or estimated to have a magnitude of 8.5 or above on the moment magnitude or Richter scales.

This list is biased towards recent years due to development and widespread deployment of seismometers. Also, records that were detailed enough to make magnitude estimates (est.) were not generally available before 1900.[2]

May 22, 1960Valdivia, Chile1960 Valdivia earthquake9.5
December 26, 2004Indian Ocean, Sumatra, Indonesia2004 Indian Ocean earthquake9.3
March 27, 1964Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA1964 Alaska earthquake9.2
November 4, 1952Kamchatka, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union1952 Kamchatka earthquakes9.0[3]
March 11, 2011Pacific Ocean, Tōhoku region, Japan2011 Tōhoku earthquake9.0[4][5][6]
December 2, 1611Pacific Ocean, Hokkaido, Japan1611 Sanriku earthquake8.9 (est.)
April 2, 1762Chittagong, Bangladesh (then Kingdom of Mrauk U)1762 Arakan earthquake≦8.8 (est.)
November 25, 1833Sumatra, Indonesia (then part of the Dutch East Indies)1833 Sumatra earthquake8.8–9.2 (est.)
January 31, 1906Ecuador – Colombia1906 Ecuador-Colombia earthquake8.8
February 27, 2010Bio-Bio, Chile2010 Chile earthquake8.8
January 26, 1700Pacific Ocean, USA and Canada (then part of the British Empire)1700 Cascadia earthquake8.7 (est.)[7]
October 28, 1707Pacific Ocean, Shikoku region, Japan1707 Hōei earthquake8.7 (est.)
July 8, 1730Valparaiso, Chile (then part of the Spanish Empire)1730 Valparaiso earthquake8.7 (est.)[8]
November 1, 1755Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon, Portugal1755 Lisbon earthquake8.7 (est.)[9]
February 4, 1965Rat Islands, Alaska, USA1965 Rat Islands earthquake8.7
July 9, 869Pacific Ocean, Tōhoku region, Japan869 Sanriku earthquake8.6 (est.)
October 28, 1746Lima, Peru (then part of the Spanish Empire)1746 Lima-Callao earthquake8.6-8.8 (est.)
March 28, 1787Oaxaca, Mexico (then part of the Spanish Empire)1787 Mexico earthquake8.6-8.7 (est.)
April 1, 1946Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake8.6
August 15, 1950Assam, India – Tibet, China1950 Assam - Tibet earthquake8.6
March 9, 1957Andreanof Islands, Alaska, USA1957 Andreanof Islands earthquake8.6
March 28, 2005Sumatra, Indonesia2005 Sumatra earthquake8.6
April 11, 2012Indian Ocean, Sumatra, Indonesia2012 Aceh earthquake8.6
December 16, 1575Valdivia, Chile (then part of the Spanish Empire)1575 Valdivia earthquake8.5 (est.)
November 24, 1604Arica, Chile (then part of the Spanish Empire)1604 Arica earthquake8.5 (est.)
May 13, 1647Santiago, Chile (then part of the Spanish Empire)1647 Santiago earthquake8.5 (est.)
May 24, 1751Concepción, Chile (then part of the Spanish Empire)1751 Concepción earthquake8.5 (est.)
November 19, 1822Valparaíso, Chile1822 Valparaíso earthquake8.5 (est.)
February 20, 1835Concepción, Chile1835 Concepción earthquake8.5 (est.)
February 16, 1861Sumatra, Indonesia1861 Sumatra earthquake8.5
August 13, 1868Arica, Chile (then Peru)1868 Arica earthquake8.5–9.0 (est.)[10]
May 9, 1877Iquique, Chile (then Peru)1877 Iquique earthquake8.5-9.0 (est.)
November 10, 1922Atacama Region, Chile1922 Vallenar earthquake8.5[11]
February 1, 1938Banda Sea, Indonesia (then part of the Dutch East Indies)1938 Banda Sea earthquake8.5
October 13, 1963Kuril Islands, Russia (USSR)1963 Kuril Islands earthquake8.5[12]
September 12, 2007Sumatra, Indonesia2007 Sumatra earthquakes8.5
October 20, 1687Lima, Peru (then part of the Spanish Empire)1687 Peru earthquake8.4-8.7 (est.)
October 17, 1737Kamchatka, Russia1737 Kamchatka earthquakes8.3-9.0(est.)
August 3, 1361Pacific Ocean, Shikoku region, Japan1361 Shōhei earthquake8.2-8.5(est.)
June 15, 1896Pacific Ocean, Tōhoku region, Japan1896 Sanriku earthquake8.2-8.5(est.)

Deadliest earthquakes on record[edit]

Deadliest earthquakes[13]
1"Shaanxi"January 23, 1556Shaanxi, China820,000–830,000 (est.)[14]8.0 (est.)Estimated death toll in Shaanxi, China.
2"Haiyuan"December 16, 1920NingxiaGansu, China273,400[15][16]7.8Major fractures, landslides.
3"Tangshan"July 28, 1976Hebei, China242,769[16][17]7.8
4"Antioch"May 21, 526Antioch, Turkey (then Byzantine Empire)240,000[18]7.0 (est.)[19]Procopius (II.14.6), sources based on John of Ephesus.
5"Indian Ocean"December 26, 2004Indian Ocean, Sumatra, Indonesia230,210+[20][21]9.1–9.3Deaths from earthquake and resulting tsunami.
6"Aleppo"October 11, 1138Aleppo, Syria230,000UnknownThe figure of 230,000 dead is based on a historical conflation of this earthquake with earthquakes in November 1137 on the Jazira plain and the large seismic event of September 30, 1139 in the Azerbaijani city of Ganja. The first mention of a 230,000 death toll was by Ibn Taghribirdi in the fifteenth century.[22]
7"Haiti"January 12, 2010Haiti100,000–316,0007.0Estimates vary from 316,000 (unsubstantiated Haitian government claim) to 222,570 (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimate)[23] to 158,000 (report published in the Medicine, Conflict and Survival) to between 85,000 and 46,000 (unpublished LTL Strategies report commissioned by USAID).[24][25]
8"Damghan"December 22, 856Damghan, Iran200,000 (est.)7.9 (est.)
9"Ardabil"March 22, 893Ardabil, Iran150,000 (est.)UnknownReports probably relate to the 893 Dvin earthquake, due to misreading of the Arabic word for Dvin, 'Dabil' as 'Ardabil'.[26] This is regarded as a 'fake earthquake'.[27]
10"Aleppo"November 29, 533Syria130,000[28] ?
11"Messina"December 28, 1908Messina, Italy123,000[29]7.1On December 28, 1908 from about 5:20 to 5:21 am an earthquake of 7.1 on the moment magnitude scale occurred centered on Messina, a city in Sicily, Italy. Reggio Calabria on the Italian mainland also suffered heavy damage. The ground shook for some 30 to 40 seconds, and the destruction was felt within a 300 km radius. Moments after the earthquake, a 40 feet (12 m) tsunami struck nearby coasts causing even more devastation. 93% of structures in Messina were destroyed and some 70,000 residents were killed. Rescuers searched through the rubble for weeks, and whole families were still being pulled out alive days later, but thousands remained buried there. Buildings in the area had not been constructed for earthquake resistance, having heavy roofs and vulnerable foundations.
12"Ashgabat"October 6, 1948Ashgabat, Turkmen SSR (modern-day Turkmenistan)110,000[30]7.3
13"Great Kantō"September 1, 1923Kantō region, Japan105,385[31]7.9An earthquake which struck the Kantō plain on the Japanese main island of Honshū at 11:58 on the morning of September 1, 1923. Varied accounts hold that the duration of the earthquake was between 4 and 10 minutes. The quake had an epicenter deep beneath Izu Ōshima Island in Sagami Bay. It devastated Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama, surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, and caused widespread damage throughout the Kantō region.[32] The power and intensity of the earthquake is easy to underestimate, but the 1923 earthquake managed to move the 93-ton Great Buddha statue at Kamakura. The statue slid forward almost two feet.[33] Casualty estimates range from about 100,000 to 142,800 deaths, the latter figure including approximately 40,000 who went missing and were presumed dead.
14"Chihli"September 27, 1290Ningcheng, China100,000[34]6.8
15"Kashmir"October 8, 2005Muzaffarabad, Pakistan100,000[35]7.6

Property damages caused by earthquake[edit]

RankNameMagnitudeProperty damages
12011 Tōhoku earthquake, Japan9.0[6]$235 billion[36][37]
21995 Great Hanshin earthquake, Japan6.9$100 billion
32008 Sichuan earthquake, China8.0$75 billion
42011 Christchurch earthquake, New Zealand6.3[38]$40 billion [39]
52010 Chile earthquake, Chile8.8[40]$15–30 billion[40]
61994 Northridge earthquake, United States6.7$20 billion
72012 Emilia earthquakes, Italy6.1[41]$13.2 billion
81989 Loma Prieta earthquake, United States~7.0; 6.9-7.1 reported[42]$11 billion
91999 921 earthquake, Taiwan7.6$10 billion
101906 San Francisco earthquake, United States7.7 to 7.9 (est.)[41]$9.5 billion ($400 million 1906 value[41])

See also[edit]


  1. ^ USGS: Magnitude 8 and Greater Earthquakes Since 1900
  2. ^ Weeks, Linton (March 13, 2011). "The Recorded History Of Quakes Is A Long One". National Public Radio. 
  3. ^ "Historic Earthquakes – Kamchatka." U.S. Geological Survey, October 26, 2009.
  4. ^ "New USGS number puts Japan quake at 4th largest". CBS News. 14 March 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Reilly, Michael (March 11, 2011). "Japan's quake updated to magnitude 9.0". New Scientist. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  6. ^ a b USGS analysis as of March 12, 2011
  7. ^ Atwater, B.F.; Musumi-Rokkaku S., Satake K., Tsuji Y., Ueda K. & Yamaguchi D.K. (2005). "The Orphan Tsunami of 1700". Professional Paper 1707. USGS. p. 98. Retrieved March 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Historic World Earthquakes." U.S. Geological Survey, November 23, 2009.
  9. ^ "Historic Earthquakes – Lisbon, Portugal." U.S. Geological Survey, October 26, 2009.
  10. ^ "Historic Earthquakes – Arica." U.S. Geological Survey, October 21, 2009.
  11. ^ "Historic Earthquakes – Chile-Argentina Border." U.S. Geological Survey, October 26, 2009.
  12. ^ "Magnitude 8 and Greater Earthquakes Since 1900." U.S. Geological Survey, March 7, 2010
  13. ^ "Earthquakes with 50,000 or More Deaths". Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ International Association of Engineering Geology International Congress. Proceedings. [1990] (1990). ISBN 90-6191-664-X.
  15. ^ Utsu, T. "Search Page". Catalog of Damaging Earthquakes in the World (Through 2008). Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^ "Earthquakes with 50,000 or More Deaths". USGS. Retrieved March 17, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Annals 48, 3, 2005+app1" (PDF). Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  19. ^ National Geophysical Data Center. "Comments for the Significant Earthquake". Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  20. ^ If the death toll in Myanmar was 400–600 as claimed by dissident groups there, rather than just 61 or 90, more than 230,000 people would have perished in total from the tsunami.
  21. ^ "Myanmar is withholding true casualties figures, says Thai priest". January 4, 2005. Archived from the original on October 9, 2006. Retrieved February 12, 2011. A missioner in Ranong, a town on the border between Thailand and Myanmar, says locals talk about 600 victims. Burmese political dissidents say the same. 
  22. ^ Ambraseys, Nicholas N., "The 12th century seismic paroxysm in the Middle East: a historical perspective" (PDF), Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 47, N. 2/3, April/June 2004, p. 743.
  23. ^ Haiti Dominates Earthquake Fatalities in 2010 (January 11, 2011), U.S. Geological Survey.
  24. ^ Maura R. O'Connor, [Two Years Later, Haitian Earthquake Death Toll in Dispute], Columbia Journalism Review (January 12, 2012).
  25. ^ Report challenges Haiti earthquake death toll (June 1, 2011), BBC.
  26. ^ Ambraseys, N.N.; Melville, C.P. (2005). A History of Persian Earthquakes. Cambridge Earth Science. Cambridge University Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-521-02187-6. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  27. ^ Gupta, H. (2011). Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences (2 ed.). Springer. p. 566. ISBN 978-90-481-8701-0. 
  28. ^ Paula Dunbar. "Significant Earthquake". Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  29. ^ The world's worst natural disasters Calamities of the 20th and 21st centuries CBC News'.' Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  30. ^ Dilip Hiro, Inside Central Asia: A Political and Cultural History of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Iran (Penguin, 2009); Keith Smith, Environmental Hazards: Assessing Risk and Reducing Disaster (6th ed., Routledge 2013), p. 140.
  31. ^
  32. ^ Hammer, Joshua. (2006). Yokohama Burning: the Deadly 1923 Earthquake and Fire that Helped Forge the Path to World War II, p. 278, citing Francis Hawks, (1856). Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan Performed in the Years 1852, 1853 and 1854 under the Command of Commodore M.C. Perry, United States Navy, Washington: A.O.P. Nicholson by order of Congress, 1856; originally published in Senate Executive Documents, No. 34 of 33rd Congress, 2nd Session.
  33. ^ Great Buddha: blog
  34. ^ NGDC. "Comments for the Significant Earthquake". Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  35. ^ "Construction of Earthquake Resistant Buildings and Infrastructure Implementing Seismic Design and Building Code in Northern Pakistan 2005 Earthquake Affected Area". Centre for Promoting Ideas, USA. Retrieved 2013-04-08. Its main impact zone was in AJK and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. An area (mostly mountainous and rugged terrain) of about 30,000 km2 [11,600 sq mi] approximately was affected by this earthquake. It damaged about 6,440 km [4,000 mi] of roads. It damaged 50-70% of services including power, water and sanitation, etc. Approximately 400,153 houses, 6,298 schools and 796 health facilities were damaged or destroyed (UN 2006). Approximately 100,000 people were dead, around 138,000 people were seriously injured and 3.5 million people were displaced in this earthquake. 
  36. ^ Zhang, Bo. "Top 5 Most Expensive Natural Disasters in History". News & Video. Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  37. ^ Victoria Kim (21 March 2011). "Japan damage could reach $235 billion, World Bank estimates". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2011. 
  38. ^ "New Zealand Earthquake Report". GeoNet (Earthquake Commission and GNS Science). February 22, 2011. 
  39. ^ Wikipedia Article (February 22, 2011). "New economist estimates place Christchurch rebuild at $40 billion". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved May 3, 2013. 
  40. ^ a b "Events and Developments (P. 3, "Calendar of events 2010: February 27")". Yearbook (UNEP). 2011. 
  41. ^ a b c "Where can I learn more about the 1906 Earthquake?". Berkeley Seismological Lab. December 11, 2011. 
  42. ^ Stoffer, Philip W., "The San Andreas Fault In The San Francisco Bay Area, California: A Geology Fieldtrip Guidebook To Selected Stops On Public Lands" (Introduction, p. 5), USGS, 2005.

External links[edit]