Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions

  • Mt Vesivius Eruption 1631

    On 10th December 1631 residents of Torre del Greco stated they heard the mountain roaring from the inside, with such a stirring of subterranean spirits, that they could hardly sleep at all during the night. This was the first activity at Mt Vesuvius in 500 years. A large eruption of Mt Vesuvius began at dawn on 16th December 1631. A Plinian column erupted up to 28 km high accompanied by tephra fallout for a few hours. Tephra fallout occurred on the eastern side of the volcano, sparing Naples.
  • Cascadia Earthquake

    On January 26, 1700, what is now the US Pacific Northwest was shaken by a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake. Oral traditions tell of collapsed houses, from shaking that was so stong that people could not stand. The quake caused many landslides. A tsunami was created that destroyed at least one village. However, since the people living in the area did not have a written language, so what we know of the quake is from sketchy oral tradition and traces left in the geological record.
  • Libson Earthquake

    On November 1, 1755, Lisbon, Portugal was shaken by a large earthquake just offshore. Lisbon was not only a city of 250,000 people but the capital of the Portuguese empire, which spread around the world. It was one of the most important cities in Europe. Although Portugal had been hit by quakes in the past it had been 200 years since the last major earthquake. The quake hit at 9:40 AM on All Souls Day. outside.
    The quake triggered
  • Mt Pericutan Eruption 1759-1774

    Subterranean noises were first heard in late June of 1759, increasing by 17th September. On 29th September several earthquakes were felt and a dark cloud erupted from Cuitinga Creek. Phreatic and phreatomagmatic activity occurred in the initial stages of the eruption and covered the surrounding area with sticky mud. Incandescent bombs began to be ejected on 8th October 1759. Violent eruptions continued through 1764, the year of greatest activity, and lesser eruptions.
  • Mt Vesiveus Eruption 1794

    An explosion occurred at the summit of Mt Vesuvius on 15th July 1794. A lava flow reached Torre del Greco at 6:00 am the following morning destroying a large part of the town.
  • New Madrid Earthquake

    The New Madrid quakes were actually three great quakes, each of which probably measured over 8.0 on the Richter Scale. They occured from December 16, 1811 to February 7, 1812. They were largest earthquakes in the history of the contiguous United States. Estimated at over Magnitude 8.0 on the Richter Scale, they were felt over most of the Eastern United States, as much as 1,000 miles from the epicenter, just west of the Mississippi.
  • Mt Vesivius Eruption 1834

    An eruption of Vesuvius began on 23rd August 1834 and discharged a large amount of lava. On 24th August a new vent opened on the eastern side of the volcano at Grotta del Mauro, in the location of the 1817 lava flow. On 27th August a lava flow moved towards Mauro, widening as it descended, and reached a width of half a mile, and a depth of 18 feet. The lava flow destroyed 180 houses, leaving 800 people homeless, and covered 500 acres of land.
  • Mt Vesivius Eruption 1858

    On 28th May 1858 lava flowed from six fissured on the northwest side of Mt Vesuvius volcano. Lava continued to flow until 1861 and reached Fosso Grande, Piano delle Ginestre and Fosso della Vetrana.
  • Mt Vesivius Eruption 1861

    A series of earthquakes preceded an eruption of Vesuvius on 6th December 1861. A fracture opened 2 km NE of Torre del Greco, and could be seen from the sea. Eruptive vents opened on the upper part of the fracture killing one woman. Lava flowed towards Torre del Greco and Herculanem until the end of December and destroyed several houses. The coastline rose up to one metre. Carbon dioxide emissions occurred in wells and cellars.
  • Mt Vesivius Eruption 1872

    On 26th April 1872 an eruption began at Vesuvius with lava flowing from a fissure on the northwestern side of the mountain. The lava blocked the escape route for 20 spectators who were killed. The lava flow forked at Observatory Hill. One flow passed through Fossa della Vetrana and Fossa Faraone and destroyed the inhabited centres of Masa and S Sebastiano al Vesuvio. The second fork of the lava flow surrounded the Volcano Observatory and stranded staff for days.
  • 1975 Haicheng Earthquake

    The Haicheng quake is the most successfully predicted earthquake in history. Authorities evacuated the city of 1 million people days before this powerful 7.0 magnitude quake hit on February 4, 1975 at 11:36 UTC (7:36 pm local time). Although over 2,000 people were killed, authorities estimate that over 150,000 fatalities could have occured without the evacuation.
  • Japanese Tsunami 1896

    June 15, 1896, 10:30 UT, 34N36, 144E12: Sanriku on the island of Honshu on Japan's Pacific seaboard - An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale unleashed a tsunami causing a death toll of more than 27,000.
  • Mt Peelee Eruption 1902

    The 1902 eruption of Mt Pelée, destroyed the city of St. Pierre, and became the type-example of Pelean eruptions and marked the onset of modern volcanological studies of the behavior of pyroclastic flows.
  • Ecuador Tsunami 1906

    Jan 31, 1906, 15:36 UT, 1N00, 81W30: Ecuador - an earthquake registering 8.8 on the Richter scale off the coasts of Colombia and Ecuador produced a tsunami claiming about 1,000 lives.
  • Mt Vesuvius Eruption 1906

    An eruption began at Mt Vesuvius on 4th April 1906 when an effusive vent opened on the southern slope at an altitude of 1200 m, near Casotto delle Guide. At midnight on 4th April the lava flow ceased when a new fracture opened up near the cistern of Casa Fiorenza at an elevation of about 800 m elevation. At about 8:00 a.m. on 6th April a third vent opened near Bosco Cognoli at 600 m altitude on the same fracture zone.
  • 1906 San Fransico Earthquake

    The California earthquake of April 18, 1906 ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time. Today, its importance comes more from the wealth of scientific knowledge derived from it than from its sheer size. Rupturing the northernmost 296 miles (477 kilometers) of the San Andreas fault from northwest of San Juan Bautista to the triple junction at Cape Mendocino, the earthquake confounded contemporary geologists with its large, horizontal displacements and great rupture length.
  • Mt Paricutin Eruption 1943

    Paricutin was born on February 20, 1943 when a fissure opened on the lands of Rancho Tepacua. At 10:00 hr subterranean noises were heard and at 16:00 hr thunderous noises accompanied the opening of the first fissure. The earth was described as rising like a wall 1 m high, 10 m long, and 2 m wide. by midnight on the first day the cone at Paricutin had reached a height of 6m. By afternoon of 21st February a 50 m high cone had formed and was ejecting bombs 500 m high.
  • Mount Vesuvius Eruption

    A two week long eruption of Mt Vesuvius volcano began on 18th March 1944 with a lava flow from the summit crater. Eruptions changed to explosive activity on 21st March with eight lava fountains. The lava fountains increased with time, and the last one on 22nd March was the most intense, reaching heights of 1000 m. A transition to mixed magmatic–phreatomagmatic activity was marked by emissions of ash columns.
  • Mt Lamington Eruption 1951

    Three days of tremor preceded the eruption at Mt Lamington volcano. Landslides, ash emission, glowing volcanic bombs and lightning were witnessed and ignored by the people living around the volcano. Media reports stated officials did not to tell the the volcanologists about the activity and discouraged locals from leaving the area. The paroxysm at Lamington occurred at 10:40 am on the 21st January 1951. A roar was heard 320 km away and a catastrophic avalanche ripped apart the side of the mount.
  • Kamchatka Tsunami 1952

    Nov 4, 1952, 16:58 UT, 52N42, 159E30: USSR - The Kamchatka Peninsula on the country's Pacific seaboard experienced one of its worst earthquakes, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale and causing a massive tsunami felt all the way across the Pacific as far as Chile and Peru. More than 2,300 people died.
  • Mt Bezymianny Eruption 1955

    On 29th September 1955, the first earthquake was recorded beneath Bezymianny volcano. The volcano was wakening after being dormant for 1000 years. From 19th October, earthquakes occurred at a rate of hundreds per day. An eruption commenced on October 22 with strong Vulcanian explosions from a new summit crater. The Vulcanian activity continued during November and the eruptions produced large quantities of ash. The duration of the pre-climactic stage was five months.
  • Dale City Earthquake

    On 22 March 1957, the San Francisco Peninsula was rocked by an earthquake centered in the Daly City area that caused damage in Westlake District of that city, and some damage in San Francisco. Although only magnitude 5.3, this was the largest earthquake on the Peninsula since 1906. Recent work which has attempted to find the epicenter of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake has suggested an epicenter on or near the Peninsula.
  • Southern Chile Tsunami 1960

    May 22, 1960, 19:11 UT, Southern Chile, 39S30, 74W30: A 9.5 strong earthquake was followed by a devastating tsunami affecting Pacific rim countries including the Philippines and Japan. The death toll was 5,700 in Chile, 61 in Hawaii and 130 in Japan.
  • Mt Vesivius Eruption 1960

    On 27th December 1760 a fracture opened up 3 km northwest of Boscotrecase on the southern side of Vesuvius. Fifteen vents opened and effused a large amount of lava. The cone of the central crater collapsed on 29th December diminishing the eruption.
  • 1964 Alaska Earthquake

    The Great Alaska Earthquake that struck the Anchorage area on Good Friday, March 27, 1964 at 5:36 PM registered 8.6 on the Richter Scale, although scientists now favor a different magnitude scale for very large quakes that shows this quake as 9.2. This made it the largest quake that has hit the United States in recorded history and one of the largest known worldwide. Geologically, the effects were widespread and dramatic.
  • 1976 Tangshan Earthquake

    The 7.5 Magnitude Tangshan earthquake struck on July 27, 1976 at 19:42 (GMT), (July 28, 3:42 AM local time). Tangshan is a densely poplulated industrial city of a million people 90 miles east of Bejing. The intitial quake was followed by a major aftershock 15 hours later. Official estimates put the death toll at over 240,000, although unofficial sources estimates run as high at 655,000, with 800,000 injuries. This is the greatest death toll recorded for an earthquake in the last 400 years.
  • Phillippines Tsunami 1976

    Aug 16, 1976, 16:11 UT, 7.9, Mindinao, Philippines, 6N12, 124E00: Philippines - a tremor caused a tsunami >which left 5,000 dead on the Filipino island of Mindanao.
  • Mt Ruiz Eruption 1985

    On 13th November 1985 an eruption of Ruiz caused a lahar which swept through the town of Armero killing 25 000 people. Lahars have the consistency of freshly made concrete. The government officials were responsible for this tragedy as they chose to ignore the warnings by volcanologists. Fumarolic, phreatic and seismic activity had occurred at the volcano for a year before the eruption.
  • Mt Bezymianny Eruption 1986

    During the night of June 22/23 the fourth lava flow after the 1985 eruption began to form. The lava flow ceased on 26th June. During the eruption two pyroclastic flows occurred and traveled up to 2 km long. The temperature of the ash-block flow deposits was about 300°C.
  • 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

    The Loma Prieta Earthquake struck at 5:04 PM, October 17, 1989. The epicenter was located in the Santa Cruz mountains, near Loma Prieta peak, about 70 miles south of San Francisco. Measured at 6.9 on the Richter Scale, the worst damage was in the nearby cities of Watsonville and Santa Cruz. There was also considerable damage throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, especially in San Francisco and Oakland. 66 people died, over 3757 injuries, $10 billion in damage.
  • Indonesia Tsunami 1992

    Dec 12, 1992, Flores, Indonesia, 5:29 UT, 8S31, 121E54: Indonesia - a tremor touched off several tsunamis, swamping the island of Flores with 2,000 deaths.
  • Japanese Tsunami 1933

    March 2, 1933, 17:30 UT, 39N12, 144E30: Japan - At Sanriku on the island of Honshu, a quake measuring 8.3 followed by a tsunami caused more than 3,000 deaths.
  • 1994 Northridge Earthquake

    The 6.7 Magnitude Northridge Earthquake struck early in the early morning of January 17, 1994 at 4:31 AM. The Epicenter was in Northridge, California, a suburb of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. This same general area had been hit by a 6.6 Magnitude quake in 1971. It was one of the most expensive natural disasters in US history, with total damage estimated at $15 billion. The death toll of 57 and 1500 serious injuries is considered low for a quake of this size in a heavily populated area
  • 1995 Kobe Earthquake

    This 6.9 Magnitude earthquake on January 16, 1995 in Kobe, Japan caused extensive damage and loss of life. It has been studied extensively, especially in relation to the Northridge Earthquake in Southern California, almost exactly one year earlier. Both earthquakes had similar magnitudes and resulted from similar faults. The damage in Kobe, however was much worse than in Northridge. One major difference was in the different construction of buildings in California and Japan.
  • Mt Bezimianny Eruption 1997

    There was very little seismic activity prior to the 1997 eruption. The volcano began activity on 19th April 1997 with detection of volcanic tremor. By 8th May continuous tremor was recorded, which corresponded to the extrusion of a spine through the upper part of the dome. On 9th May an explosion produced a 14 km high eruption plume which drifted 600 km NE. Strong explosive activity lasted about 37 min. The eruption destroyed the top of the dome, forming a funnel-shaped crater 200 m across.
  • Papua New Guinea Tsunami 1998

    July 17, 1998, 8:49 UT, 2S54, 142E12: Papua New Guinea - following two quakes each >measuring 7.0, a tsunami ravaged 30 kilometres of northern coastline, sweeping away seven villages with a loss of more than 2,000 lives, according to official statistics. Local sources put the death toll at between 6,000 and 8,000.
  • Turkey Tsunami 1999

    Aug 17, 1999, 0:01:38 UT, 40N38.4, 29E49.8 - Turkey - a 7.6 tremor struck the northwest and centre of the country claiming some 17,000 lives and causing a devastating tsunami.
  • 2001 Olympia, Washington Earthquake

    The quake occured at 18:55 GMT (10:55 AM Pacific Standard Time). The magnitude was 6.8. The epicenter was between Tacoma and Olympia, Washington, about 10 miles northeast of Olympia. The focus of the quake was 30 miles deep. It was felt strongly in Portland and Vancouver, British Columbia. There were also reports that it was felt in San Francisco and Salt Lake City.
  • Mt Etna Eruption 2001

    This was the first in a new series of flank eruptions at the volcano. Etna's flank eruptions have previously occurred at intervals of 1.7 years, during each series. In 17th July– 9th August 2001 the eruption of Mt. Etna caused significant damage to tourist facilities, and for several days threatened the town of Nicolosi on the S flank of the volcano. Seven eruptive fissures were active, five on the S flank between 3,050 and 2,100 m altitude, and two on the NE flank between 3,080 and 2,600 m.
  • Mt Ruiz Eruption Swarm 2002

    A swarm of volcano-tectonic earthquakes occurred at the volcano on 9th June 2002.
  • Mt Etna Eruption 2002

    The 2002-2003 eruption was one of the most explosive flank eruptions in the past 150 years at Mt Etna. The magma mixed with groundwater and was phreatomagmatic. Ash fell as far away as the Greek island of Cefalonia. Between 26 and 27 October 2002, strong seismicity accompanied the opening of fissures on the S and NE flanks of the volcano. Along the 4-km-long NE-fissure, eruptions consisted of Strombolian, Hawaiian fountaining and minor phreatomagmatic activity.
  • 2003 Bam, Iran Earthquake

    he 6.7 Magnitude earthquake struck at 01:58 GMT 12/26/03. This was 05:28 am local time. The epicenter was in Bam, a city of 80,000, with 200,000 in the surrounding area, in southern Iran, 620 miles southeast of Teheran. The BBC reported within hours of the quake, "A huge relief operation involving ordinary Iranians, the army, Islamic volunteer groups and local rescue teams is under way." The death toll has been estimated at over 30,000 people with over 30,000 injured.
  • Mt Katmai Ashfall

    Strong winds at the volcano on 21st September 2003, remobilised old ash deposits, and produced ashfall on Kodiak Island 100 km away. No eruptions occurred at the volcano. Re-suspended ash was potentially hazardous to aircraft, since it reached an altitude of 2.1 km and drifted up to 400 km. A volcanic ash advisory was issued to warn pilots of the hazard.
  • 2004 Sumatra Earthquake

    At 9.0 Magnitude, this was the largest earthquake in the world since the 1964 Alaskan quake. It struck on December 26 at 6:58 AM local time (00:58 GMT). The epicenter was 255 km (160 miles) SSE of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia 315 km (195 miles) W of Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia 1260 km (790 miles) SSW of BANGKOK, Thailand 1590 km (990 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia.
  • Mt Etna Eruption 2004

    An effusive eruption that started on 7 September 2004 on the W wall of the Valle del Bove. The eruption ended in March 2005. During the flank lava flows, there were no explosions at the summit.
  • Asian Tsunami 2004

    December 26 2004, 0:58:50 UT, 3N19, 95E46: Asia - An earthquake in the Indian Ocean measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale set off a tsunami that struck at 10 Asian and three African countries, leaving at least 130,000 people dead.
  • 2005 Kashmir Earthquake

    The strongest earthquake to hit Pakistan in over a century hit in the middle of the morning on Saturday October 8 at 8:50 AM local time (03:50 UTC). With a magnitude of 7.6, it caused extensive damage and thousands of casualties throughout Kashmir. The epicenter was near the capital of Pakistani administered Kashmir, Muzaffarabad.
  • Mt Etna Eruption 2006

    On 14 July 2006 at 2330 hr a fissure opened on the E flank of the Southeast Crater. Two vents along the fissure produced a lava flow which spread 3 km E to the Valle del Bove. The eruption ended on 24 July.
  • Mt Bezymianny Mudslide 2007

    A 200 m wide mudflow moved down the Sukhaya Khapitsa river in May 2007.
  • Mt Etna Eruption 2008

    A paroxysmal eruption began at south-east crater on 10 May 2008. This was followed on 13th May by two fissures opening between 3,050 and 2,650 m elevation on Etna’s upper east side. The fissures sent lava flows 5 km into the Valle del Bove.
  • Mt Bezymianny Eruption 2008

    On 11th July, volcanic tremor, hot avalanches and strong fumarolic activity was recorded at the volcano. Dome growth occurred in the crater. An explosion on 19th August sent a plume to an altitude of 9 km.
  • Mt Krakatau Eruption 2009

    Eruptions are continuing at Krakatau volcano in Indonesia from a crater on the SW side of the cone in May 2009. A volcanic ash advisory from Darwin VAAC reported ash to 10,000 drifting NW of the volcano. On 6th May 2009 the level of alert at Krakatau was raised from Waspada (Level 2) to Siaga (Level 3), out of a maximum level 4. A renewed period of eruptions began at Krakatau on 19th March 2009, when 19 explosions were recorded. Between 1-25 April 2009 there have been 4060 explosions.
  • Mt Etna Eruption 2009

    Eruptions resumed at Mt Etna volcano, Italy after 4 months of inactivity. On 7th November Strombolian eruptions commenced at the eastern flank of South East crater. On 8th November at 07:51 am there was a magnitude 4.4 earthquake beneath the southwest flank of Mt Etna at a depth of 10 km.
  • Mt Krakatau Eruption 2009

    Alert level at Krakatau volcano in Indonesia has been lowered from Siaga (Level III) to Waspada (Level II). Explosion earthquakes measured over the past few months were August 4311, September 541, and October 34. There has been a significant decline in eruptive activity at the volcano since August 2009. People are still advised to avoid landing on Anak Krakatau.
  • Mt Bezimianny Eruption 2009

    An explosive eruption occurred at Bezymianny volcano between 21:45 UT on 16th December 16 and 04:00 UT on 17th December. Seismic activity at the volcano decreased significantly after 04:00 UT on 17th December. Ashfall occurred at Kozyrevsk village. Satellite images showed ash plume extending 350 km north-west of the volcano.
  • Mt Bezimianny Eruption 2010

    An explosion possibly occurred at Bezymianny volcano between from 23:42 UTC on 5th February and 01:58 UTC on 6th February. Lava flowed from the dome.
  • 2010 Haiti Earthquake

    A 7.0 M Earthquake shook Haiti at 21:53 UTC (4:53 PM local time) Tuesday January 12, 2010. The epicenter was about 10 miles from the capital and major city, Port-au-Prince. Several large aftershocks occurred in the hours following the quake with a few continuing into the next couple of days. An additional aftershock a week later frightened the survivors and caused additional damage.
  • Mt Etna Eruption 2010

    An ash eruption occurred at the summit of Mt Etna volcano, Italy on 8th April 2010. The eruption occurred at the lower east flank of the Southeast Crater. The eruption increased the crater from 10 m to 50 m. The eruptions were preceded by a series of earthquakes at the Pernicana fault on 2nd April. This was the first time in 6 years that earthquakes occurred in this location on Mt Etna (NE flank). The largest earthquake was magnitude 4.2. Ground cracking occurred adjacent to Ragabo mountain hut.
  • Mt Katmai Ashfall 2010

    Strong winds around Katmai volcano in Alaska caused the remobilisation of volcanic ash into the atmosphere on 26th September 2010. The volcanic ash was visible on satellite images and reached a height of 10,000 ft.
  • Mt Krakatau Eruption 2010

    On 29th October 2010 there were 136 eruptions at the volcano, compared to a recent average of 10 per day. Krakatau volcano was raised to level 2 alert.
  • Mt Etna Eruption 2011

    On the evening of 11th January 2011 an increase in volcanic tremor was recorded at Mt Etna volcano. Seismic activity reached a peak at 07:00 hr on 12th January when the source moved from north of NE crater to the SE crater. This corresponded to weak eruptive activity at SE crater on 11th January. On 12th January eruptions increased with strombolian activity recorded at SE crater.
  • Mt Krakatau Eruption 2011

    Eruptions from Krakatau volcano, Indonesia forced the evacuation of tens of thousands residents on 11th January 2011. Seven districts affected were Kalianda, Rajabasa, Katibung, Sidomulyo, Ketapang, Sragi and Palas. On Monday ash from Anak Krakatau continued to cover residential areas in parts of Banten province and South Lampung. Visual observations showed ash emissions reaching a height of 600 m and drifting east. Ashfall affected the operation of seismometers on the volcano.
  • Mt Saint Helens Eruption 2011

    A swarm of earthquakes hit Mt St Helens volcano on 14th February 2011. The earthquakes were centered in an area near the Johnston Ridge Observatory, about 7 km north of the crater. The earthquakes had a focus at a depth of about 2-4 km. At least 12 small earthquakes were measured in the area since Monday. The initial earthquake was the largest with a magnitude of 4.3 and hit around 10:35 a.m. local time. The earthquakes are possibly caused by fault movement under the volcano as a result of magma
  • 2011 Sendai, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

    The east coast of Japan was hit by a 9.0 Magnitude earthquake on March 11,2011 at 05:46UTC (2:46 pm local time), that caused major damage in the northeastern part of the country. Severe shaking lasted over 2 1/2 minutes. The epicenter was undersea off the coast of Honshu, Japan's largest island, 230 miles northeast of Tokyo, 80 miles from the city of Sendai, which sustained the worst damage. Sendai is the largest city in the area, with over 1 million people.
  • Japanese Earthquake 7.4

    The Japan earthquake rebounded with a 7.4 magnitude quake, which hit just 25 miles under the water on Thursday night. This aftershock hit Japan just one month after the devastating earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan just off the northeastern coast.