The Deadly Earthquakes

  • Dec 22, 856

    Damghan, Iran

    Damghan, Iran
    The earliest record-breaking earthquake as it happened on December 22, 856, this earthquake struck Damghan, the capital of Iran at that time with a magnitude of 8.0 or 1-Gigaton power. It killed 200,000 people, with tremors that could be felt throughout the surrounding areas of Damghan causing these areas to be totally destroyed as well, though Damghan itself was not severely damaged. A great example was Bustam, a nearby town, which was completely leveled by the quake.
  • Oct 11, 1138

    Aleppo, Syria

    Aleppo, Syria
    This disaster happened near the town of Aleppo in Syria on October 11, 1138. The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 8.5 or 2.8-Gigaton, was labeled as the fourth worst earthquake disaster in the world. Catastrophes included a nearby church that fell on itself causing the death of 600 guards and citizens, and total death toll of 230,000. A number of towns near the tremor were completely destroyed and had to be rebuilt to become habitable again.
  • Jan 23, 1556

    Shaanxi, China

    Shaanxi, China
    This earthquake has sometimes been called the deadliest earthquake in history. The incident happened on January 23, 1556 in Shaanxi, China and devastated an area of 520 miles. It was felt in 97 countries; and resulted in more than 20 meters deep crevices and landslides, which collapsed numerous dwellings. The death toll of this devastating earthquake was 830,000, which is over 60% of the region’s population. Its magnitude was only 8.0 on the Richter scale or only 1-Gigaton, but the costs cannot
  • Haiyuan County, China

    Haiyuan County, China
    Also called ‘the 1920 Gansu Earthquake,’ this disaster happened in Haiyuan County, Ningxia. Though there were conflicting reports on its magnitude and death toll, as both the Chinese government and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) published different reports, it still brought catastrophic effects that were felt for over 125 miles and aftershocks that lasted over 3 years. The December 16, 1920 quake has conflicting magnitudes of 7.8 and 8.5 and death tolls of 200,000 or 240,000.
  • Xining, China

    Xining, China
    Xining, which lies on the Huangshui River on the eastern part of Quinghai Province, experienced a magnitude 7.9 seismic activity on May 22, 1927. It killed 40,900 people though there were other reports that the death toll could be as high as 200,000. The earthquake was not only deadly but it also brought large fractures, damages to over 500 schools and office buildings causing many people to lose their occupations. This was also linked to the Great Gansu Earthquake.
  • Valdivia, Chile

    Valdivia, Chile
    When it comes to the earthquake’s magnitude, the 1960 Valdivia earthquake takes the cake at 9.5, which was equivalent to a massive 178-Gigatons of power. This can be comparable to 1,000 atomic bombs going off at the same time. The earthquake was not only felt in Valdivia but also reached Hawaii, at a distance of 435 miles. While only 6,000 people died in the catastrophe, it incurred more than $1 billion worth of damages.
  • Tangshan, China

    Tangshan, China
    This tragedy happened on July 28, 1976 in Tangshan, Hebei and killed 255,000 people though the Chinese government first recorded its death toll at 655,000. The 8.2 magnitude or 2.2-Gigaton quake only lasted for 10 seconds, but brought a lot of devastation to the area. In addition, Tangshan is a region with a very low-risk for earthquakes, so the buildings were not earthquake-proof. The quake was 4 miles long and 5 miles wide, which left a total damage of 10 billion Yuan or $1.3 billion.
  • Sumatra, Indonesia

    Sumatra, Indonesia
    This earthquake hit the sea bed of the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 with a magnitude of 9.1 to 9.3 or over 32-Gigatons, and caused the Boxing Day Tsunami. This was the second highest seismic activity recorded with the longest duration of tremors. The after-effects even reached Maldives and Thailand, with more than 5 tsunamis hitting the coastlines of the Indian Sea. It had a death toll of 100,100 to 225,000 with over $7 billion worth of rescue and damage costs during the first 8.3 to 10 min
  • Port-au-Prince, Haiti

    Port-au-Prince, Haiti
    The Haiti earthquake was a magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale, with an epicenter near Leogane, 25 km west of its capital, Port-au-Prince. It struck on January 12, 2010 where at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater could still be felt even 12 days later. The earthquake left a devastating wake of 316,000 deaths, 300,000 injured and 1,000,000 people homeless. It was estimated that 250,000 houses and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely destroyed.
  • Tohoku, Japan

    Tohoku, Japan
    On March 11, 2011, the east coast of Tohoku in Japan was struck by a 9.03 magnitude earthquake, which was the strongest to ever hit Japan. Considered one of the top five largest earthquakes in the world, it caused destruction that claimed 15,878 lives, left 6,126 injured and 2,173 people missing across 20 prefectures. It also caused the collapsed of 129,225 buildings, while the tsunami brought about by the quake also caused severe structural damages, fires in many areas, and damages in roads and