List Of Top Ten Worst Earthquakes Recorded In The History Of The World

A strong earthquake hit south-eastern Turkey, around the Syrian border, leading to the death of 2,000 people across both Syria and Turkey on 7 February 2023. Earthquakes throughout history have inflicted immense damage and proved to be one of the deadliest natural calamities without any doubt. Here is the List of the Top Ten Worst Earthquakes Recorded In History.
List of Top Ten World's Worst Earthquakes
List of Top Ten World's Worst Earthquakes

A strong earthquake hit south-eastern Turkey, around the Syrian border, leading to the death of 2,000 people across both Syria and Turkey on  7 February 2023.  Around 1,121 people lost their lives due to the earthquake as per Turkey's disaster agency and 783 people lost their lives in Syria. The death poll numbers are expected to rise just as rescuers struggle to save people from the mountains in the freezing weather.

The epicenter of the first earthquake was near Nurdagi in Gaziantep province while the second earthquake was surrounding Ekinozu which is near Kahramanmaras province and near Goksun in the very same province was the third epicenter.

The earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria had a strong 7.8 magnitude.

Each part of our Earth is going through some natural calamity, these natural disasters can reach their 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 is the list of the Top Ten Worst Earthquakes Recorded In History!

1. Valdivia Earthquake (1960)– 9.5


Source: Wikipedia

  • The Valdivia Earthquake which is also known as the Great Chilean earthquake ), was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in history.
  • 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. 
  • The Earthquake lasted approximately 10 minutes and hurled an enormous tsunami with waves up to 25 meters (82 feet). 
  • The tsunami severely pounded the Chilean coast and raced across the Pacific Ocean devastating Hilo, Hawaii.
  •  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.
  • Though the death toll of the 1960 Valdivia Earthquake is not certain, the total number of casualties from the earthquake and tsunamis has been tallied between 1,000 and 6,000. 

2. Great Alaska Earthquake (1964)– 9.2


Source: Wikipedia

  • In 1964, the  Great Alaska earthquake also known as the 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. 
  • The earthquake lasted approximately 4.5 minutes and was marked as one of the most powerful recorded earthquakes in U.S. history.
  • 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. 
  • The Survivors out-ran the wave, ascending to high ground.
  • The earthquake also caused a massive underwater landslide where the Port Valdez city harbor and docks collapsed, perishing 30 people. 
  • A total of 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
  • A total of 3,000 people were injured.

3. Sumatra Earthquake (2004)– 9.1


Source: Wikipedia

  • 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.
  • The epicenter of the earthquake was on the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.
  •  The Sumatra Earthquake had the hugest fault length of any recorded earthquake,  at a distance of 1500 km. 
  • This resulted in a tsunami with waves up to 30 meters (100 ft) high, causing up to a quarter of a million deaths.
  • This earthquake also marks the longest duration of faulting ever observed which was between 8.3 and 10 minutes.
  •  The Sumatra Earthquake caused the entire planet to tremble as much as 1 centimeter (0.4 inches).
  • 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 the Hiroshima atomic bomb. 

4. Tōhoku Earthquake (2011) – 9.1


Source: Wikipedia

  • The Tōhoku Earthquake occurred On 11 March 2011 Friday, at 14:46 local time, 05:46 UTC. It was a massive undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan. 
  • This earthquake accelerated vast tsunami waves which went up to a high of 40.5 meters in total.
  •  The tsunami waves traveled inland as far as 6 miles (10 km) and caused widespread and serious structural damage in north-eastern Japan.
  • The tsunami also caused several nuclear accidents, mainly level 7 meltdowns like major accidents, which are at the highest level, in the three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex.
  • 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.

ALSO READ|Everything you need to know about the Turkey earthquake; the country’s worst disaster in 8 decades!

5. Kamchatka, Russia Earthquake (1952) – 9.0


Source: Wikipedia

  • The Kamchatka Earthquake occurred on  November 4, 1952, at 16:58 GMT. This enormous earthquake hit the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the far east of Russia. 
  • 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.
  • 10,000 to 15,000 people died.
  •  Though it caused adverse damage in the Hawaiian Islands, there were no human deaths attributed to the tsunami. 
  • The waves extended as far as Peru, Chile, and New Zealand.

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


Source: Wikipedia

  • 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. 
  • 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 
  • A number of buildings collapsed in many cities, including the capital, Santiago, which caused many casualties. 
  • 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


Source: Wikipedia

In 1906 Ecuador–Colombia earthquake occurred at 15:36 UTC on January 31, on the coast of Ecuador, near Esmeraldas (a coastal city in northwestern Ecuador). 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


Source: Wikipedia

  • In 1965, Rat Islands Earthquake occurred at 05:01 UTC, in February.
  • 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


Source: Wikipedia

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

10. Sumatra Earthquake (2012)– 8.6


Source: Wikipedia

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

List of Top Ten Worst Earthquakes Recorded In History




Earthquake magnitude


Valdivia Earthquake 




Great Alaska Earthquake  




Sumatra Earthquake 




Tōhoku Earthquake 




Kamchatka, Russia Earthquake 












Rat Islands Earthquake




Assam-Tibet Earthquake 




Sumatra Earthquake 



 While India is empathetic to the sorrows of the people of Turkey and Syria it would do all that is required and possible to aid Turkey and Syria. 

“The PM said that we have seen what happened in Gujarat and it took years to build it, so we understand the pain of the people in Turkey and Syria. He said we have already sent a rescue team and they are on their way. If required, we will send more” addressed to PM Modi, and to the BJP leaders.



Earthquake: Causes, Effects and Magnitude measurement

What is Google Earthquake Detection System?

7 major natural disasters in the history of India

Get the latest General Knowledge and Current Affairs from all over India and world for all competitive exams.
Jagran Play
खेलें हर किस्म के रोमांच से भरपूर गेम्स सिर्फ़ जागरण प्ले पर
Jagran PlayJagran PlayJagran PlayJagran Play