What Is An Earthquake?

     An Earthquake is a natural disaster and has a few aliases. These aliases are quake, tremor and tremblor. It causes the Earth to quake, although not the entire Earth, but part of it.

     Sometimes the quakes are of a small enough magnitude that probably no casualties or injuries would result. That does not mean however that earthquakes are not deadly, because they are. Especially when the magnitude of an earthquake reaches beyond just a small tremor as it can be so bad that buildings collapse.

     People can die either by being fatally injured by the collapse, or suffocating because they're stuck in a collapsed building with very little oxygen getting to them.

     Several earthquakes, particularly ones near coastlines and islands can also cause tsunami's, which together can cause mass devistation.

     Earthquakes are probably the deadliest natural phenomonenon, because unlike cyclones and hurricanes they cannot be so easily predicted. People can survive cyclones in their basements if the structure is sound, or they can evacuate their homes when a hurricane is coming in. It might leave them homeless, but at least they'd be alive. Earthquakes however are not so easy to predict and can happen without a single warning. These quakes can also devestate a larger chunk of land than a tornado or Hurricane might.

What Causes Earthquakes?

     “Earthquakes are caused by a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust.”[3686] This then causes seismic waves. “Seismic waves are waves of energy that travel through the Earth, and are a result of an earthquake, explosion, or volcano that imparts low frequency acoustic energy.”[3685]

Can Earthquakes Be Prevented?

     No, Earthquakes can not be prevented, but there are earthquake predictors, though they may not always be reliable. However if an earthquake is possible, one might want to evacuate the area where it is predicted that there will be one. Sometimes however there isn't enough time between the prediction and the actual quake.

     Despite all safety measures, such as standing inside of a doorway, there will still be fatalities. It's a miracle if there aren't any fatalities at all. Mother nature is one serial killer that can never be stopped and remains an unpredictable force.

     There have been structures built that are supposed to be quake proof. However such buildings can not always survive the higher magnitude tremors. Still, in most cases those buildings may be the only hope for people wanting to outlive the tremblor. Miracles can and do happen.

The 5 Deadliest Earthquakes of the 21st Century

1. 2010 Haiti Earthquake

      The quake which happened on Tuesday, January 12 2010 in the region of Haiti and the Dominican Republic had a magnitude of 7.0. It was the most catastrophic earthquake of the 21st century. Many buildings were damaged or completely destroyed.

Haiti Earthquake DamageCredit: wikipedia commons

     However it was the death toll which made the tremblor one of the deadliest of all time with the estimated total of 316,000. There was also around 300,000 injured in the natural disaster with yet another 1,000,000 made homeless because of the deadly earthquake. There followed after the quake, a tsunami, which is not unusual for coastlines or islands.


2. 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami

      The Earthquake and tsunami which followed after started in the Indian Ocean. It was an undersea megathrust tremblor. It happened the day after christmas in 2004 and had a magnitude of 9.1-9.3.

     The magnitude while it was far worse than that of the tremblor that afflicted Haiti, it did not claim as many lives. It is however recorded as the sixth deadliest earthquake of all time, but within the 21st century it comes in second place. This, because the estimated death toll of 230,210-280,000.

Sumatra Coast after the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and TsunamiCredit: wikimedia commons

     The countries and regions which the earthquake and resulting tsunami affected were Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Maldives and the eastern coast of Africa. In Indoensia the main affected area was that of Aceh. In India it was mostly Tamil Nadu. The east coast of Africa was mostly afflicted by the resulting tsunami rather than the quake itself, Somali getting the brunt of it.


3. 2005 Kashmir Earthquake

      The third deadliest earthquake of the 21st century is thought to be the 17th deadliest tremblor of all time. Which is the Kashmir earthquake which took place in 2005 on October 8th. The quake took the lives of an estimated 79,000.

2005 Kashmir EarthquakeCredit: wikimedia commons

     This deadly tremor had a magnitude of 7.6. The countries afflicted by the quake were Pakistan, India and Afganistan. It is believed however that only four died in Afganistan whereas the most deaths were in Pakistan where the confirmed death total was 74,698. There seems to be a discrepency in the death toll.


4. 2008 Sichuan Earthqake

       The 21st deadliest earthquake of all time is the fourth deadliest eaarthquake of the 21st century. An earthquake which killed an estimated 69,195 on Monday, May 12, 2008 in a provenience of China, Sichuan.

2008 Sichuan EarthquakeCredit: wikimedia commons

     The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.98-7.9. Although the death toll was 69,195 there also were another 18,392 missing as well as 374,648 people injured. The tremblor which lasted two days and eight hours, with a total of 42,719 aftershocks of which an estimated 149 to 284 were major.


5. 2003 Bam Earthquake

      The fifth worst earthquake of the 21st century would be the Bam Earthquake of the year 2003. The day it struck was December 26th on a Friday. It stole the lives of 26,271 people within the country it afflicted. The country it afflicted was Iran, striking in the city of Bam and the surrounding Kerman provenience. It is believed that the magnitude of the earthquake which not only took 26,271 human lives, but also left 30,000 injured was 6.6. Bam also lost its greatest tourist attraction, 'a 2000 year old mud-brick Bam Citadel'.

Bam Citadel Before the Earthquake

Bam Citadel before the 2003 Bam EarthquakeCredit: wikimedia commons

Bam Citadel After the Earthquake

Bam Citadel After the 2003 Bam Earthquake

There Are More Natural Disasters Than The 5 Listed Here

     While these are by far not the only earthquakes of the 21st century, they remain the deadliest with their high death tolls. Some of them are more well known than others, such as the Touhoku tsunami of Japan. No place is safe from mother nature. It could be mother natures wrath, but it could also be mother natures way of keeping Earth from becoming too densly populated.