• North Pacific coast of America

    Magnitude 9 (estimated)
    The only North American account of one of the continent's largest earthquakes comes from the oral history of native Americans near Vancouver island which describes how the large community of Pachena bay was wiped out by a huge wave. Across the pacific, the quake was accurately recorded by Japanese observers of the large tsunami that struck Japan on 27 January 1700. The power of that inundation has been used by historians and seismologists to pinpoint the magnitude of the
  • Lisbon

    Magnitude 8.7
    The near-total destruction of Lisbon and the deaths of a quarter of the city's population were caused by an earthquake, followed by a tsunami and fire, that was felt in north Africa, France and northern Italy. In the age of enlightenment, the cultural impact of the quake spread even further afield as the horrors of Lisbon provided inspiration for sensationalist artworks and philosophical tracts. Voltaire penned a poem on the catastrophe and scientists found a wealth of written fir
  • Northeast Arkansas

    Magnitude 7.7
    This powerful earthquake was felt widely over the entire eastern United States. People were awakened by the shaking in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. Perceptible ground shaking was in the range of one to three minutes depending upon the observers location. The ground motions were described as most alarming and frightening in places like Nashville, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky. Reports also describe houses and other structures being severel
  • New Madrid, Missouri

    Magnitude 7.5
    The second principal shock of the 1811-1812 sequence. It is difficult to assign intensities to the principal shocks that occurred after 1811 because many of the published accounts describe the cumulative effects of all the earthquakes and because the Ohio River was iced over, so there was little river traffic and fewer human observers. Using the December 16 earthquake as a standard, however, there is a general consensus that this earthquake was the smallest of the three principal
  • Arica, Peru (now part of Chile)

    Magnitude 9
    Hawaii also felt the force of the tsunami created by this pacific basin earthquake, but here the destruction was just as heavy in South America with the city of Arequipa destroyed and 25,000 killed. The quake was felt as far away as La Paz in Bolivia. Four hours after the first shocks, waves as high as 16 metres inundated the coast and carried one US gunboat two miles inland to rest precariously on the edge of a 60m cliff.
  • coast of Ecuador

    Magnitude 8.8
    Emanating from the ocean off Ecuador and Colombia, the quake generated a tsunami that killed between 500 and 1,500 people along a coastline from Central America to San Francisco. To the west in Hawaii, rivers suddenly drained about 12 hours after the first shocks, then were submerged as a series of successively larger waves flooded the coast.
  • Chile-Argentina Border

    Magnitude 8.5
    Hits n. coast Chile. Tidal wave experienced at Coquimbo. Several hundred lives lost, enormous property damage
  • Banda Sea, Indonesia

    Magnitue 8.5
    The shock was felt on the Banda and Kai islands. At Tual glassware was broken, a pendulum clock stopped. On Banda Island and also on Kai Island great damage was caused by tsunamis. Intensity VII.
  • Assam-Tibet

    Magnitude 8.6
    Seventy villages simply disappeared in the string of disasters generated by an earthquake with an epicentre in Tibetan Rima but which wrought most destruction in India's Assam state. Across the region, landslides claimed the lives of 1,526 people and rendered parts of the landscape unrecognisable from the air. The quake was followed by severe flooding, and eight days after the first tremors a natural dam on the Subansiri river burst, releasing a seven-metre wall of water against n
  • Kamchatka

    Magnitude 9
    The volcanic Russian peninsula was near the epicentre of the quake, but it was the Hawaiian islands that took the brunt of the tsunami that caused a million dollars' worth of damage as waves scoured the coasts, ripping boats from their moorings and, in Honolulu harbour, lifting a cement barge before throwing it down on to a freighter. No deaths were recorded, unless you count the six cows lost by one unfortunate Oahu farmer, who was left cursing an event that had occurred more than
  • Andreanof Islands, Alaska

    Magnitude 8.6 Andreanof Islands, Alaska This great earthquake destroyed two bridges on Adak Island, damaged houses, and left a 4.5 meter crack in a road. On Umnak Island, part of a dock was destroyed, and Mount Vsevidof erupted after being dormant for 200 years. Further, this shock generated a 15 meter tsunami that smashed into the coastline at Scotch Cap and an 8 meter tsumani that washed away many buildings and damaged oil lines extensively at Sand Bay. This tsunami continued to Hawaii, where
  • Chile earthquake

    Magnitude 9.5

    The world's most powerful earthquake left 4,485 people dead and injured and 2 million homeless after it struck southern Chile in 1960. The port of Puerto Saavedra was destroyed in the ensuing tsunami, which caused $550m worth of damage in Chile and killed a further 170 people as five-metre waves hit the coasts of Japan and the Philippines. A day later Volcán Puyehue in Chile's lake district spewed ash 6,000m into the air in an eruption that lasted for several weeks
  • Prince William Sound, Alaska

    Magnitude 9.2
    The Gulf of Alaska was devastated by the Prince William Sound earthquake that caused landslides in Anchorage and raised parts of outlying islands by as much as 11 metres. The resulting tsunami reached heights of 67 metres as it swept into the shallow Valdez inlet and was responsible for most of the 128 deaths and $311m worth of damage. The massive water displacement was felt as far away as the Louisiana Gulf coast and registered on tidal gauges in Puerto Rico.
  • Rat Islands, Alaska

    Magnitude 8.7
    Rat Islands, Aleutian Islands On Adak Island, cracks occurred in prefabricated wood buildings; on Shemya Island, cracks were observed in an asphalt runway. Hairline cracks also formed in the runways at the U.S. Coast Guard Loran Station on Attu Island. This earthquake generated a tsunami reported to be about 10.7 meters high on Shemya Island. Loss caused by flooding on Amchitka Island was estimated at about $10,000. An aftershock at 07:40 UTC was assigned MMI VI.
  • Off the west coast of northern Sumatra

    Magnitude 9.1
    The deadliest tsunami in history was felt in 14 countries across Asia and east Africa, triggered by a "megathrust" as the Indian tectonic plate was forced beneath the Burmese plate. Indonesia was the worst affected with an estimated 170,000 of the nearly 230,000 dead. With many of the victims' bodies missing, the eventual death toll took a month to establish. Some the world's poorest communities lost more than 60% of their fishing and industrial infrastructure.

    Magnitude 8.6
    At least 1000 people killed, 300 injured and 300 buildings destroyed on Nias; 100 people killed, many injured and several buildings damaged on Simeulue; 200 people killed in Kepulauan Banyak; 3 people killed, 40 injured and some damage in the Meulaboh area, Sumatra. A 3-meter tsunami damaged the port and airport on Simeulue.

    Magnitude 8.5
    At least 25 people killed, 161 injured, 52,522 buildings damaged or destroyed and roads damaged in Bengkulu and Sumatera Barat. A tsunami with a wave height of 90 cm was measured at Padang. Power and telephone outages occurred. Felt by people in high-rise buildings at Jakarta and in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
  • off Bio-Bio, Chile

    Magnitude 8.8
    The region around Concepción has been recorded as a centre for seismic shocks since the 16th century, but few have been as devastating as the early morning quake that generated a Pacific-wide tsunami and cost the lives of 521 people. With a further 12,000 injured and more than 800,000 left homeless, Chile was left reeling at the scale of a disaster that would cost the nation $30bn by the end of 2010.
  • Near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan

    Magnitude 9.0
    15703 people killed, 4647 missing, 5314 injured. Most of the damage occured in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima from a pacific-wide tsunami.

    Magnitude 8.6
    At least 2 people killed, 8 others died from heart attacks and 12 injured in Aceh. Felt in much of Sumatra and Java. Felt widely in South and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, Brunei, Burma, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Felt as far as Pune, India and Broome, Australia. A 31-cm tsunami was recorded at Meulaboh, Indonesia.