Here we have made a comprehensive list of the largest, worst, strongest, biggest earthquakes in history. Reading about these earthquakes will help you learn more about the destructive power that earthquakes can have. Packed full with interesting facts about earthquakes, pictures lists and more, you can find out many things you never knew about earthquakes before. Read on to find out more.

Largest Earthquake in history

These earthquakes are measured or estimated to be the largest in history. They are measured using the Richter scale and some of the biggest earthquakes ever have occurred in recent times.

Date

May 22, 1960

Mar 27, 1964

Dec 26, 2004

Mar 11, 2011

Nov 4, 1952

Aug 13, 1868

Jan 26, 1700

Jul 9, 869

Dec 2, 1611

Apr 2, 1762

Nov 25, 1833

Jan 31, 1906

Feb 27, 2010

Aug 15, 1950

Oct 28, 1707

Jul 8, 1730

Nov 1, 1755

Feb 4, 1965

Oct 28, 1746

Mar 28, 1787

Magnitude

9.5

9.3

9.2

9.0

9.0

9.0 (est.)

8.7–9.2 (est.)

8.9 (est.)

8.9 (est.)

8.8 (est.)

8.8 (est.)

8.8

8.8

8.7

8.7 (est.)

8.7 (est.)

8.7 (est.)

8.7

8.6 (est.)

8.6 (est.)

 

Name

1960 Valdivia earthquake

1964 Alaska earthquake

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake

2011 Tōhoku earthquake

1952 Kamchatka earthquake

1868 Arica earthquake

1700 Cascadia earthquake

869 Sanriku earthquake

1611 Sanriku earthquake

1762 Arakan earthquake

1833 Sumatra earthquake

1906 Ecuador–Colombia quake

2010 Chile earthquake

1950 Assam–Tibet earthquake

1707 Hōei earthquake

1730 Valparaiso earthquake

1755 Lisbon earthquake

1965 Rat Islands earthquake

1746 Lima–Callao earthquake

1787 Mexico earthquake

 

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Biggest earthquake in energy released

biggest earthquake | strongest earthquake | famous earthquakes

Do not be fooled by the small bars on this graph into thinking that some of these earthquakes were small. Every single one of these earthquakes was extremely powerful and destructive. Earthquakes are measured using a logorithmic scale and so it is hard to compare size of earthquakes. This graph illustrates how incredibly large the three largest earthquakes in history were. 

Deadliest earthquakes in history

Some earthquakes are powerful with mercifully low death counts and some earthquakes are much less powerful, however, they can be extremely deadly. Those that occur in densely populated areas tend to have the highest loss of life.

Fatalities

820,000 (est.)

273,400

242,769

240,000

230,210+

230,000

100,000–316,000

200,000 (est.)

150,000 (est.)

130,000

123,000

110,000

105,385

100,000

100,000

 

Date

Jan 23, 1556

Dec 16, 1920

Jul 28, 1976

May 21, 526

Dec 26, 2004

Oct 11, 1138

Jan 12, 2010

Dec 22, 856

Mar 22, 893

Nov 29, 533

Dec 28, 1908

Oct 6, 1948

Sep 1, 1923

Sep 27, 1290

Oct 8, 2005

Name

1556 Shaanxi, China

1920 Ningxia–Gansu, China

1976 Tangshan, Hebei, China

526 Antioch, Turkey

2004 Indian Ocean 

1138 Aleppo, Syria

2010 Haiti

856 Damghan, Iran

893 Ardabil, Iran

533 Aleppo, Syria

1908 Messina, Italy

1948 Ashgabat,  Turkmenistan

1923 Great Kantō, Japan

1290 Chihli, Ningcheng, China

2005 Kashmir, Pakistan

Deadliest earthquake in modern history

earthquake picture

The 1920 Haiyuan earthquake took place in Gansu province, China and it is the deadliest earthquake that has been recorded in modern history. Whilst estimates vary, it was recently estimated to have killed 273,000 people. As it was the start of winter and mnay homes were destroyed, many more people lost their lives durign the following winter from sleeping outdoors during the harsh winter. 

Most expensive earthquakes ever

worst earthquake ever

Rank

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Name

2011 Tōhoku earthquake, Japan

1995 Great Hanshin earthquake, Japan

2008 Sichuan earthquake, China

2011 Christchurch earthquake, NZ

2010 Chile earthquake, Chile

1994 Northridge earthquake, USA

2012 Emilia earthquakes, Italy

1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, USA

1999 Taiwan

1906 San Francisco earthquake, USA

Property damages

$235 billion

$100 billion

$75 billion

$40 billion 

$15–30 billion

$20 billion

$13.2 billion

$11 billion

$10 billion

$9.5 billion

($400 million in 1906 money)

EARTHQUAKE FACTS

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