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Largest Earthquakes by Magnitude

By Edited Aug 1, 2016 2 2

Measuring earthquakes is tricky; however the Richter scale helps to measure the power or magnitude of an Earthquake. Here are the top 5 Earthquakes on record with the highest magnitude.

1. 1960 Valdivia earthquake (9.5 Magnitude)

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake was the highest magnitude earthquake that has ever been measured. The 1960 Valdivia earthquake caused numerous tsunamis that battered the coast of Chile. In addition to ravishing Chile the 1960 Valdivia earthquake also sent tsunamis that hit the coasts of multiple other Countries including Australia, Japan, and even the coast of Alaska. The main tsunami wave was truly one of the most deadly things to come from Mother Nature in our modern world.

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake was actually part of 3 separate deadly earthquakes that is now know as the 1960 Concepción earthquake.

2. 1964 Alaska Earthquake (9.2 Magnitude)

Alaska Destruction

March 27th, 1964 was Good Friday; at least that is what the calendar said. Unfortunately nothing good came of this day because it was the day of one of the most tragic earthquakes in history and the second strongest recorded earthquake in the World. The 1964 Alaska Earthquake remains as the strongest Earthquake of all-time in the United States.

 The 1964 Alaska Earthquake hit at 5:36 P.M.  The devastation was immediate and widespread. Everywhere from Anchorage to Kodiak seemed like it was destroyed or at least severely damaged. The brunt of the damage was in Anchorage. The many buildings and the poorly built infrastructure was instantly destroyed by the rocking of the earth. The 1964 Alaska Earthquake was strong enough that it caused parts of Kodiak Island to be permanently raised 30 feet. Kodiak is 200 miles away from Anchorage so this helps to illustrate how far and wide the damage was the occurred when the 1964 Alaska Earthquake struck.

The epicenter of the 1964 Alaska Earthquake was 78 miles away from Anchorage. Anchorage was the largest population center at the time and a true tragedy erupted. The 1964 Alaska Earthquake caused super-huge tsunamis and also triggered numerous other catastrophes including rock slides, deep pits that sucked stuff into the ground, and even raising the ground almost 50 feet. It is estimated that around 100,000 square miles of Alaska was affected by this phenomena of the land raising. Over 100, 00 square miles of Alaska was permanently jacked up almost 50 feet higher and other parts of Alaska had sinkholes devouring people, cars, moose, and buildings.

Numerous towns in Alaska were deeply affected by the 1964 Alaska Earthquake. The town of Valdez was eventually moved to higher ground so if another sizeable earthquake like this occurs again it can save lifes. I guess it is not a matter of if another earthquake the size of the 1964 Alaska Earthquake will happen again, but more a matter of when. Eventually another super-sized earthquake like the 1964 Alaska Earthquake is bound to occur.

The damage caused by the Tsunami that occurred because of the 1964 Alaska Earthquake also killed a few people as far away as California. There were countless aftershocks in the days after the big quake struck. People we scared that another major quake was going to hit. You cannot blame these people for being scared because there were 11 aftershocks that measured 6.2 or higher and there were thousands of smaller aftershocks. Panic and fear was running deep during the aftermath of the initial shock of the 9.2 magnitude 1964 Alaska Earthquake.

3. 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake (9.1 Magnitude)

The 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and tsunami was devastating. There are lot of videos of the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and tsunami available online for people to watch. The water was acting weird so a lot of people headed down to the beach to see what was going on. Soon multiple Tsunamis waves as high as 30 feet pummeled the coast and instantly killed countless people. People were running and struggling to get as far away and as high up as they could to be saved from the deadly tsunamis.

The 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and tsunami is kind of a misnomer, because there was more than just 1 tsunami. There were numerous tsunamis that stuck various coasts and caused the entire planet Earth to vibrate almost ½ an inch. The same catastrophe that caused THE ENTIRE EARTH to vibrate .4 inches was directly attacking coasts of Countries including Thailand.

Some scientific communities have revised the magnitude rating to an 8.8, while other scientists believe that it was actually closer to a 9.2 magnitude. Regardless of the exact magnitude rating, the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and tsunami was the third strongest magnitude earthquake recorded but the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and tsunami is among one of the most deadly natural catastrophes of all-time.

It is estimated that the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and tsunami killed over 230,000 people. The 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and tsunami killed people in 14 different Countries. The 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and tsunami is truly a sad day in the history of mankind.

4. 1952 Kamchatka earthquakes (9.0 Magnitude)

The 1952 Kamchatka earthquake is officially known as the 1952 Severo-Kurilsk tsunami. The 1952 Kamchatka earthquake occurred in Kamchatka that was part of the USSR at the time it occurred.  There were 3 major tsunami waves that occurred. After the earthquake struck many people on coastal communities ran for the hills because they knew that a tsunami wave was probable. After the first tsunami wave hit most people returned to the towns, assuming the tsunamis were over. Unfortunately 2 more tsunamis came in and killed many of those people.

5. 2011 Tohoku Earthquake ( 9.0 Magnitude)

The 2011 Tohoku Earthquake is the most recent major earthquake and one that most people are familiar with. The devastation from the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake was immense and worldwide relief efforts attempted to help in any aspect possible. The 2011 Tohoku Earthquake2011 even caused a nuclear reactor meltdown that has caused Japan to abandon all nuclear reactor facilities in the future. Trash and other damaged material wound up floating in the Ocean and was carried as far as the California coast where the Japanese trash and debris washed ashore.

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Comments

Nov 10, 2012 4:30pm
Marlando
Hi--darn nice coverage and well-written piece so got to give you 5 BIG stars for this one.
Nov 12, 2012 2:26am
Knighttrader
What a great article, really enjoyed that. Thumbs up.
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