10 Worst Earthquakes Recorded in History

While many earthquakes have occurred across the world, some of them were terrible; here is a list of the worst earthquake recorded in history.

On February 7, 2023, a powerful earthquake near the Syrian border in southeast Turkey killed 2,000 people there as well as in Turkey. Without a doubt, earthquakes have proven to be one of the worst natural tragedies throughout history and have caused enormous devastation. The Top Ten Worst Earthquakes in History are listed below.

Every region of our planet is experiencing some sort of natural disaster, which might intensify in the worst manner imaginable.

Without a doubt, earthquakes have proven to be one of the worst natural tragedies throughout history and have caused enormous devastation.

The Top Ten Worst Earthquakes Ever Seen In History are listed below!

10 Worst Earthquakes Recorded in History

1. Valdivia Earthquake (1960)– 9.5

The most powerful earthquake ever recorded in history was the Valdivia Earthquake, often known as the Great Chilean Earthquake. The earthquake struck on May 22 in the late afternoon at 19:11 GMT, or 15:11 local time, around 100 miles (160 km) parallel to the Chilean city of Valdivia.
The earthquake, which lasted for almost 10 minutes, sent a massive tsunami with waves as high as 25 meters (82 feet). The tsunami devastated Hilo, Hawaii, as it sped across the Pacific Ocean after battering the Chilean coast.

Nearly as far away as Japan and the Philippines, at a distance of 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles), the waves reached heights of 10.7 meters (35 feet). Although the exact death toll of the 1960 Valdivia Earthquake is unknown, it has been estimated that between 1,000 and 6,000 people perished as a result of both the earthquake and the tsunami.

2. Great Alaska Earthquake (1964)– 9.2

The Prince William Sound region of Alaska saw the Great Alaska earthquake, sometimes referred to as the Good Friday earthquake, on March 27, 1964, at 5:36 PM local time (3:36 UTC).

This is one of the most intense earthquakes ever recorded in the United States, which lasted for about 4.5 minutes. The Chenega settlement was destroyed by a tsunami that was 8.2 meters long and 27 feet high. Of the 68 residents, 23 perished in the disaster.

Outrunning the wave, the Survivors made their way to higher ground. The collapse of the Port Valdez municipal harbor and docks as a result of the earthquake’s large underwater landslide claimed the lives of 30 persons.

There may have been 139 fatalities overall, with 15 of those coming from the earthquake itself, 106 from the ensuing tsunami in Alaska, 5 from the tsunami in Oregon, and 13 from the tsunami in California. 3,000 persons were injured altogether.

3. Sumatra Earthquake (2004)– 9.1


The 2004 Sumatra Earthquake, also known as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, occurred on December 26 at 00:58:53 UTC and was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recent memory.

The Indonesian island of Sumatra’s western shore served as the earthquake’s epicenter. The Sumatra Earthquake, which occurred at a distance of 1500 km, has the longest documented fault length.

Up to a quarter of a million people may have perished as a result of the tsunami, which had waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high.

Additionally, the faulting that occurred during this earthquake lasted for the longest time yet seen—between 8.3 and 10 minutes. The planet trembled up to 1 centimeter as a result of the Sumatra earthquake (0.4 inches).

The earthquake’s total energy output was 9,600 gigatons of TNT, or 4.01022 joules (4.01029 ergs), which is 550 million times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

4. Tōhoku Earthquake (2011) – 9.1

On March 11, 2011, on a Friday, at 14:46 local time, or 05:46 UTC, an earthquake struck the Thoku region. Off the coast of Japan, there occurred a significant undersea megathrust earthquake.

Large tsunami waves were accelerated by this earthquake and reached a maximum height of 40.5 meters. The tsunami caused extensive and significant structural damage in northeastern Japan, with waves reaching as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).

The three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex had many nuclear mishaps as a result of the tsunami, the majority of which were level 7 meltdowns, the most serious type of nuclear catastrophe. The confirmed fatalities as of the date, March 10, 2015, were 15,894 dead, 6,152 injuries, and 2,562 individuals missing.

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5. Kamchatka, Russia Earthquake (1952) – 9.0

On November 4, 1952, at 16:58 GMT, there was an earthquake in Kamchatka. In the far east of Russia, a massive earthquake struck the Kamchatka Peninsula’s coast.

The tsunami caused by the earthquake caused devastation to the Kuril Islands and the Kamchatka Peninsula, with waves as high as 15 meters (50 feet) in height.
10 to 15 thousand individuals perished.

There were no reported human fatalities associated with the tsunami, despite the fact that it inflicted harm in the Hawaiian Islands. The waves reached New Zealand, Peru, and Chile.

6. Maule(Chile) Earthquake (2010)– 8.8

Worst Earthquakes Recorded in History

The Maule Earthquake commonly referred to as the 2010 Chile earthquake, struck central Chile on February 27, 2010, at 3:34 a.m. local time, roughly 3 kilometers (1.9 km) off the coast of Pelluhue.

For roughly three minutes, there was a severe shaking that completely destroyed numerous coastal communities in south-central Chile. The tsunami also caused damage to Talcahuano’s harbor.

Several people were killed as several buildings fell in numerous locations, including Santiago, the country’s capital. According to the authorities, 25 persons went missing in January 2011 along with a final death toll of 525 deaths.

7. Ecuador-Colombia Earthquake(1906)– 8.8

On January 31, 1906, at 15:36 UTC, the Ecuador-Colombia earthquake struck close to Esmeraldas on the Ecuadorian coast (a coastal city in northwestern Ecuador). The deaths were caused by massive tsunamis that were triggered by the earthquake and reached heights of up to 5 meters (16 feet).

8. Rat Islands Earthquake(1965) – 8.7

The Rat Islands Earthquake of 1965 happened in February at 05:01 UTC.
On Shemya Island in Alaska, the earthquake created a tsunami that measured over 10 meters (33 feet), although due to its remote position, it did little harm.

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9. Assam-Tibet Earthquake (1950) – 8.6

The Xizang-India border region experienced an earthquake on August 15, 1950. The earthquake’s epicenter was close to Rima, Tibet, and as a result, numerous structures were demolished and between 1500 and 3.000 people perished.

Large landslides blocked the Subansiri River after the earthquake, and eight days later this natural dam breached, causing a wave of 7 m height to engulf numerous settlements and kill 536 people. Almost 5,000,000 people were made homeless by the earthquake.

10. Sumatra Earthquake (2012)– 8.6

Worst Earthquakes Recorded in History

A magnitude 8.6 earthquake from the Indian Ocean struck the area near the Indonesian city of Aceh on April 11, 2012, at 15:38 local time. Despite being on tsunami alert, the authorities later canceled.

This earthquake was the greatest strike-slip earthquake ever recorded, producing strong intraplate changes but no devastating tsunami due to its remote location.
The data indicates that the height of the tsunami waves ranged from 3.9 inches to 31.4 inches, or 10 cm to 0.8 meters.

There were 10 confirmed fatalities and 12 reported injuries, most of which were due to anxiety and/or heart attacks.

India expressed sympathy for the suffering of the people of Turkey and Syria following the recent earthquake in both countries, and it pledged to do everything necessary and practical to assist both countries.

“The PM remarked that as we were present for what transpired in Gujarat and knew that it had taken years to construct, we can relate to the suffering of the people in Turkey and Syria. He said that a rescue squad had already been dispatched and was currently en route. We will send more if necessary,” the letter to PM Modi and the BJP leaders states.

Later on, Structural and civil engineers from the UK traveled to Turkey to help to investigate the damage caused by the February 7  powerful earthquake.

Conclusion: 10 Worst Earthquakes Recorded in History

Although many earthquakes and Tsunamis have occurred in the world, the above listed were the most dreaded and life-threatening earthquakes to occur on earth.