Top 10 Deadliest and Worst Earthquakes ever recorded

Earthquake– the word itself is enough to cause terror in the minds of people. No matter how many you have been through there is still something scary about them especially when they come at night. They hit without any advanced warning and when they are over you are left a little shaken. There are always those minutes of suspense when you actually feel nervous anticipation of what may follow. But no matter how experienced you are or how quickly and easily you shrug them off, thoughts of some deadly and worst earthquakes are never far from mind, although that is not something we like to think about.

If you are wondering which were the most deadly and worst earthquakes of all times then here is a countdown of the 10 worst and deadliest earthquakes ever recorded-


10. Pakistan- 8th October 2005

Magnitude- 7.6

A major earthquake took place in Pakistan on 8th October 2005 at 8.50 am with a magnitude of 7.6. The epicenter was about 65 miles northeast of Islamabad. More than 86,000 people were killed and around 69,000 were injured. Major damage occurred in Muzaffarabad area of Kashmir. Three million people lost their homes and caused destruction in northern Pakistan, northern India and Afghanistan. According to reports 32,335 buildings collapsed in various cities. The tremors were felt at a distance of up to 620 miles as far away as Delhi and Punjab. The quake was followed by a number of aftershocks, landslides and falling rocks.


9. Nepal- 25th April 2015

Worst Earthquakes

Magnitude- 7.3 and 7.8

On 12th May 2015 a major earthquake occurred in Nepal with a moment magnitude of 7.3. The epicentre of this earthquake was on the border of Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk the two districts of Nepal. The earthquake again occurred on the same fault on a larger magnitude of 7.8 on 25th April and is called the aftershock of the first earthquake. The aftershock caused mass destruction and killing. The tremor of this earthquake was felt as far as about 2400 km away from the epicentre.


8. Gujarat, India- 26th January 2001

Magnitude- 7.9

When India was celebrating its 52nd Republic Day on 26th January 2001 the western part of the country faced one of the worst earthquakes in history. The earthquake which lasted for over two minutes at 8.46 am killed more than 19,727 and 166,000 were injured. The massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake was followed by more than 500 aftershocks which continued to strike different parts of Gujarat till March, according to Indian Metrology Department (IMD). Twenty-one out of 25 districts in the state were totally destroyed and Kutch was the worst affected district followed by Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Surendranagar.


7. Sichuan, China- 8th May 2008

Worst Earthquakes

Magnitude- 8

The great Sichuan earthquake occurred on 8th May 2008 with a magnitude of 8.0. It was a great earthquake and was felt by nearby countries. Around 69,197 people died and 374,176 people were injured. This earthquake was considered as the worst earthquake that hit China as it left 4- 15 million people homeless. The quake was caused by collision of the Indian- Australian and Eurasian plates. China’s government deployed its soldiers for the rescue operation and repair and rebuilding of houses and infrastructure soon began.


6. Assam- Tibet Earthquake- 15th August 1950

Magnitude- 8.6

The Assam- Tibet earthquake took place on 15th August 1950 and was also known as Tibet earthquake or Medog Earthquake and was followed by thousands of aftershocks. The calculated magnitude was 8.6 and the epicenter was near Rima a region claimed by both China and Tibet. The earthquake proved more damaging for Assam in terms of property loss. According to the estimates nearly 780 people died and thousands were injured. A natural dam in Assam broke eight days after the earthquake producing a 23ft tall wave that destroyed many villages and further killed 536 people. The shocks were felt throughout the entire northeastern and in many parts of eastern India.


5.Maule, Chile- 27th February 2010

Magnitude- 8.8

The Chile earthquake occurred on 27th February 2010 on Maule coast of south-central Chile with the magnitude of 8.8 which caused damage on land and also lead to a tsunami that devastated some coastal areas of the country. It ranks as the sixth largest earthquake ever to be recorded by a seismograph. It is also the strongest tsunami in the Pacific Ocean since 1960’s. The quake caused the death of 521 people and more than 800,000 people were directly affected because of death, injury and displacement.


4.Japan- 11th March 2011

Magnitude- 9

The Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011 also known as Great Sendai earthquake or Great Tohoku earthquake occurred in northeastern Japan on 11th March 2011. More than 28,000 people died or went missing. The epicenter was 130 kilometers off Sendai. Earthquakes and tsunami are very common for the people of Japan as the country lies on the Circum Pacific ring of fire where the Earth’s largest and fastest moving tectonic plate lies. But the March earthquake was very unusual as it was the country’s largest recorded earthquake and fourth largest in the world since 1935.


 3.Sumatra, Indonesia- 26th December 2004

Magnitude- 9.1

The 2004 earthquake is also known as the Great Sumatra- Andaman earthquake which occurred on 26th December 2004 and the epicenter was located off the west coast of Sumatra. The quake ruptured the greatest fault length of any recorded earthquake. Instead of tearing the land apart the rupture started beneath the epicenter. The tremors were felt throughout southeastern Asia and caused destruction in northern Sumatra and in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The earthquake resulted in a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean and killed huge number of people. The magnitude was originally measured 9.0 but later was changed to 9.1.


2.Great Alaska Earthquake, USA- 27th March 1964

Magnitude- 9.2

A great earthquake of magnitude 9.2 occurred on 27th March 1964 in the Prince William Sound region of Alaska. The earthquake lasted for 4.5 minutes and is considered as the most powerful recorded earthquake in the U.S history and is also the second largest earthquake recorded after the Chile earthquake of 1960. The earthquake took the lives of 131 people. The area of damage zone was 50,000 square miles and the earthquake was accompanied by virtual displacement of earth over a 100,000 square mile region.


1.Valdivia, Chile- 22nd May 1960

Magnitude- 9.5

This earthquake was the largest ever instrumentally recorded and measured a 9.5 on the moment magnitude (Mw) scale. It earned the title of the greatest earthquake not because of the number of human deaths and damage it caused to the structures but because of the amount of energy released during the disaster. Scientists claim that not only this earthquake caused damage to human lives but the earth changed forever by the enormous amount of energy released during it.

People should keep in mind that an earthquake can strike any location at any time. However, it is true that we cannot stop an earthquake from happening but we can significantly mitigate their effects by characterizing the hazards, building safer infrastructures and preparing in advance to face the above listed terrible disasters. Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings and their contents do so be safe and adopt preventive measures in order to safeguard yourself and your family from such disasters.

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