8 Largest Earthquakes Ever Recorded – Largest.

Few events are as terrifying and humbling as natural disasters

The widespread devastation and destruction reminds us that no matter how far we have come in terms of civilization, humans still cannot control nature

Earthquakes occur as a result of the Earth’s tectonic plates moving

Currently, there are no known faults large enough to cause an earthquake with a perfect magnitude 10–but some of the 10 largest earthquakes ever recorded come very close

Let’s take a look at these disasters in epic scale, ranked by magnitude

Nias earthquake

This earthquake occurred on the island of Nias, and it took almost half the population of Gunungsitoli, the largest city on the island

Many of those who died were sleeping when the earthquake struck, or were unable to escape from the upper floors of their buildings

The earthquake itself lasted about two minutes and caused 51 aftershocks in the following 8 hours alone

Simeulu Island was also affected by the same earthquake that devastated Nias

Location: Assam, Tibet

Just three years after India gained independence from Britain, tragedy struck in the form of an earthquake with an epicenter 20 miles below the Tibetan town of Rami

A large landslide occurred as a result of the violent shaking, damming the river until the water burst and caused more damage

The Assam earthquake was the largest earthquake on record caused by converging continental plates rather than oceanic subduction

Earthquake in the rat islands

Location: Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Casualties: 0 reported

While this earthquake was rather costly, causing an estimated $10,000 in property damage, it had a silver lining in that it caused no known injuries or deaths

The majority of the damage was actually caused by the resulting tsunami rather than by the earthquake itself, and tsunami warnings were issued along the entire stretch of coastline between Nikolski and Attu

And the Aleutians where the North American and Pacific crustal plates converge is one of the most active seismic zones in the world

Location: Ecuador and Colombia

This earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that claimed many more lives afterward

The greatest loss and damage was sustained along the coast between Micay, Colombia, and Río Verde, Ecuador

The majority of data regarding this earthquake was obtained by observing and analyzing the waveforms

This earthquake spawned the South American Plate and the Nazca Plate, creating a rupture zone more than 350 miles long

Maule Earthquake

Location: Offshore Bio-Bio, Chile

The epicenter of this devastating earthquake was located about 200 miles southwest of Santiago, the capital of Chile, while its shock was felt as far away as Buenos Aires, Argentina

The rupture between the South American Plate and the Nazca Plate that caused the earthquake was later attributed to an increase in water pressure

The Maule earthquake caused extensive damage to surrounding buildings and infrastructure, which had a significant impact on the local economy while disrupting trade and relief missions

Location: Kamchatka, Russia

This earthquake caused the Tsunami in the Kamchatka Peninsula, which devastated the local population with waves up to 50 feet in height

The earthquake originated above the Okhotsk Plate, where it is subducted by the Pacific Plate, and many nearby volcanoes

The Hawaiian Islands suffered the most from the effects of this earthquake outside the local area where it occurred, experiencing about 17 million dollars in losses

Midway Island, in particular, was flooded with water flooding the streets

Tohoku earthquake

Location: Sendai, Japan

The tsunami caused by the Tohoku Earthquake inundated more than 200 square miles of land on the coast of Honshu with waves reaching up to 12-story buildings

Perhaps the most horrific effect of this natural disaster was the level 7 nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant

With damages reaching $235 billion, this tsunami was estimated to be the costliest natural disaster in history

About 47,000 people had to be evacuated after the terrible incident at Fukushima Daiichi

Sumatra-Andaman Islands earthquake

Location: Sumatra, Indonesia

Location: Sumatra, Indonesia

Commonly known as the Indian Ocean Earthquake, the Sumatra-Andaman Islands Earthquake displaced large volumes of water to create the Indian Ocean Tsunami, which cost about $10 billion in local losses

The waves from this natural disaster have so far caused damage across the ocean on the East African coast

Scientists estimate the Indian Ocean earthquake released as much energy as the entire United States used in 11 days

Great earthquake in Alaska (Prince William Sound)

Location: Southern Alaska

Also known as Alaska’s Good Friday Earthquake, this massive earthquake catalyzed several tsunamis that inundated several coastal cities, including one that reached more than 200 feet in height

The shock waves also caused a series of destructive landslides in Anchorage

The impact of the Great Alaska Earthquake was so far that it shook the Space Needle 1,200 miles away in Seattle, Washington

16 of the deaths caused by this earthquake occurred on the coast of California and Oregon where the tsunami waves arrived to cause more destruction

Valdivia Earthquake (Great Chilean Earthquake)

Magnitude: 95

Magnitude: 95

Magnitude: 95

Magnitude: 95

Magnitude: 95

Magnitude: 95

Magnitude: 95

Magnitude: 95

Magnitude: 95

Magnitude: 95

Location: Bio-Bio, Chile

Casualties: 6,000

Casualties: 6,000

Casualties: 6,000

Casualties: 6,000

Casualties: 6,000

Casualties: 6,000

Casualties: 6,000

Casualties: 6,000

Casualties: 6,000

The Valdivia earthquake is the largest recorded earthquake in the world

Like several other nearby earthquakes, the Great Chilean Earthquake was triggered by the Nazca Plate pushing its way further beneath the South American Plate

The rupture zone spanned nearly 621 miles of coastline, and tsunami waves affected coastlines as far away as Japan and New Zealand

This earthquake named Valdivia, the city that was the worst affected by the natural disaster and its consequences

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