Worst Earthquakes Recorded In History: All you need to know

Each part of our Earth is going through some natural calamity, these natural disasters can reach its extremes in the worst ways possible. Earthquakes throughout history have inflicted immense damage and proved to be one of the deadliest natural calamities without any doubt. Here are 10 worst earthquakes recorded in history.
World's Worst Earthquakes
World's Worst Earthquakes

Each part of our Earth is going through some natural calamity, these natural disasters can reach its extremes in the worst ways possible. 

Earthquakes throughout history have inflicted immense damage and proved to be one of the deadliest natural calamities without any doubt. 

Here are 10 worst earthquakes recorded in history.



1.  Valdivia Earthquake (1960)– 9.5


  1. The Valdivia Earthquake which is also known as the Great Chilean earthquake ),was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in history.
  2. On the afternoon of May 22 at 19:11 GMT, 15:11 local time the earthquake hit the location approximately 100 miles (160 km) off the coast of Chile, parallel to the city of Valdivia. 
  3. The Earthquake lasted approximately 10 minutes and hurled an enormous tsunami with waves up to 25 meters (82 feet). 
  4. The tsunami severely pounded the Chilean coast and raced across the Pacific Ocean devastating Hilo, Hawaii.
  5.  The Waves were  as high as 10.7 meters (35 feet)  and were recorded even 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) from the epicenter, almost as far away as Japan and the Philippines.
  6. Though the death toll of the 1960 Valdivia Earthquake is not certain, the total number of casualties from the earthquake and tsunamis have been tallied between 1,000 and 6,000. 

2. Great Alaska Earthquake (1964)– 9.2

  1. In 1964, the  Great Alaska earthquake also known as Good Friday earthquake arose at 5:36 PM ,local time, 3:36 UTC, on Good Friday, March 27 in the Prince William Sound region of Alaska. 
  2. The earthquake lasted approximately 4.5 minutes and marked as one of the most powerful recorded earthquakes in U.S. history.
  3. The earthquake triggered a 27-foot, 8.2 meters tsunami which demolished the village of Chenega. The disaster killed 23 of the 68 people who lived there. 
  4. The Survivors out-ran the wave, ascending to high ground.
  5. The earthquake also caused a massive underwater landslide where the Port Valdez city harbor and docks collapsed, perishing 30 people. 
  6. Total 139 people are speculated to have died: 15 as an outcome of the earthquake itself, 106 from the subsequent tsunami in Alaska, 5 from the tsunami in Oregon, and 13 from the tsunami in California
  7. Total 3,000 people were injured.

3. Sumatra Earthquake (2004)– 9.1

  1. One of the most lethal natural disasters in recent history, the 2004 Sumatra Earthquake, also known as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, happened at 00:58:53 UTC on 26 December.
  2. The epicenter of the earthquake was at the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.
  3.  The Sumatra Earthquake had the hugest fault length of any recorded earthquake, spanching at a distance of 1500 km . 
  4. This resulted in a tsunami with waves up to 30 meters (100 ft) high, causing up to a quarter of a million deaths.
  5. This earthquake also marks the longest duration of faulting ever observed which was between 8.3 and 10 minutes.
  6.  The Sumatra Earthquake caused the entire planet to tremble as much as 1 centimeter (0.4 inches).
  7. The Total energy released by the quake was 4.0×1022 joules (4.0×1029 ergs), or 9,600 gigatons of TNT, 550 million times that of Hiroshima atomic bomb. 

4. Tōhoku Earthquake (2011) – 9.1

  1. The Tōhoku Earthquake occurred On 11 March 2011 Friday, at 14:46 with the local time, 05:46 UTC. It was a massive undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan. 
  2. This earthquake accelerated vast tsunami waves which went up to a high of 40.5 meters total.
  3.  The tsunami waves traveled inland as far as 6 miles (10 km) and caused widespread and serious structural damage in north-eastern Japan.
  4. The tsunami also caused several nuclear accidents, mainly the level 7 meltdowns like major accidents, which are at the highest level , in the three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex.
  5. On the date, 10 March 2015, it was announced that the confirmed fatalities were 15,894 deaths and 6,152 injured with 2,562 people missing.

5. Kamchatka, Russia Earthquake (1952) – 9.0

  1. The Kamchatka Earthquake occurred on  November 4, 1952, at 16:58 GMT. This enormous earthquake hit the coast of Kamchatka Peninsula, in the far east of Russia. 
  2. The earthquake produced a great disastrous Pacific-wide tsunami with waves up to 15 meters (50 feet) which resulted in damage to the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Kuril Islands.
  3. 10,000 to 15,000 people died.
  4.  Though it caused adverse damage in the Hawaiian Islands, but there were no human deaths attributed to the tsunami. 
  5. The waves extended as far as Peru, Chile and New Zealand.

6. Maule(Chile) Earthquake (2010)– 8.8

  1. In 2010 the Maule Earthquake, also known as the 2010 Chile earthquake  occurred off the coast of central Chile on Saturday, 27 February at 03:34 local time  about 3 km and 1.9 miles at the coast of Pelluhue. 
  2. This intense trembling lingered for about three minutes through which  several coastal towns in south-central Chile were devastated .The port at Talcahuano was also damaged by the tsunami 
  3. A number of buildings collapsed in many cities, including the capital, Santiago, which caused many casualties. 
  4. According to the authorities, the final death toll of 525 victims and 25 people missing in January 2011.

7. Ecuador-Colombia Earthquake(1906)– 8.8

  1. In 1906 Ecuador–Colombia earthquake occurred at 15:36 UTC on January 31, at the coast of Ecuador, near Esmeraldas (a coastal city in northwestern Ecuador).
  2.  The earthquake elicited large tsunamis, up to 5 meters/16 feet high, which was the cause of the casualties.

8. Rat Islands Earthquake(1965) – 8.7

  1. In 1965, Rat Islands Earthquake occurred at 05:01 UTC, in February.
  2. The Earthquake triggered a tsunami of over 10 meters (33 feet) on Shemya Island, Alaska, but due to its distant location, caused very little damage.

9. Assam-Tibet Earthquake (1950) – 8.6

  1. In 1950, August 15, an Earthquake occurred at Xizang-India border region and epicenter of earthquake located near Rima,Tibet, 
  2. The Result of which many buildings were destroyed and between 1.500 and 3.000 people were killed.
  3. Post the earthquake, large landslides obstructed the Subansiri River and this natural dam was broken after eight days later, consequently creating a wave of 7 m height which engulfed various villages and killed 536 people.
  4. The earthquake also created around 5,000,000 homeless.

10. Sumatra Earthquake (2012)– 8.6

  1.  In 2012 April 11, at 15.38 local time, Indian Ocean earthquakes of magnitude 8.6 occurred undersea that near the Indonesian city of Aceh.
  2. The authorities were at tsunami call but thereafter canceled 
  3. This earthquake caused strong intraplate shifts and became the largest strike-slip earthquake ever recorded
  4. The earthquake occurred very far from an inhabited place and produced no destructive tsunami.
  5. According to the data the tsunami waves were 10 cm to 0.8 meter or 3.9 inches to 31.4 inches in height.
  6.  10 deaths and 12 injuries were reported which were mostly caused by panic and/or heart attacks.




Earthquake magnitude


Valdivia Earthquake 




Great Alaska Earthquake  




Sumatra Earthquake 




Tōhoku Earthquake 




Kamchatka, Russia Earthquake 












Rat Islands Earthquake




Assam-Tibet Earthquake 




Sumatra Earthquake 




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