The Deadliest Earthquakes of the World

Tangshan, China

The Tangshan earthquake of 1976 was one of the deadliest earthquakes. It occurred on 28 July 1976 at 3:42 a.m. Beijing local time, and had a magnitude of 7.8 and focal depth of 15 km. It caused serious damage and loss of life in this densely populated industrial city. The number of death toll reported to be approximately 650,000.

Sumatra, Indonesia

The 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit at just before 1 a.m. GMT or 7:58 a.m. local time on 26 December 2004. The earthquake struck 30 km below the surface around 160 km off the Western coast of northern Sumatra. In total 14 countries were affected by the disaster. Indonesia was worst affected, with an estimated 280,000 dead.

Gansu, China

It struck in the evening of the 16 December 1920 in the rural district of Taiyuan near Inner Mongolia was one of the deadliest earthquakes. It registered a 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale. The big earthquake caused rivers to change course and some rivers were dammed; it also sent landslides pouring down mountains. Damages occurred in 7 Chinese provinces and regions and an estimated 200,000 people died in the disaster.

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Tsinghai, China

The earthquake hit at 6:32 a.m. on 22 May 1927. The 7.9 magnitude event had an epicenter near Gulang, Kansu in the Republic of China. It was felt up to 700 km away. In the area of greatest intensity, all cave dwellings and 90% of houses were destroyed an estimated 200,000 people died in the disaster. It was one of the deadliest earthquakes.

Tokyo, Japan

The Great Kanto Earthquake was a massive quake in Japan that originated off the south-west coast of Tokyo in Sagami bay, at 11:58 a.m. on 1 September 1923. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter scale. An estimated 143,000 people died in the disaster.

Turkmenistan

The Ashgabat earthquake occurred at 2:17 a.m. in the morning on 6 October 1948. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.3 and the epicenter of the earthquake was located near the small village Gara-Gaudin, 25 km southwest of Ashgabat. More than two-thirds of the people were killed by the earthquake (the total number of dead were around 110,000).

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Messina, Italy

Messina earthquake and tsunami of 1908, was one of the deadliest earthquakes and subsequent tsunami devastated southern Italy on 28 December 1908. This most powerful recorded earthquake to hit Europe struck at about 5:20 a.m. Its epicenter was under the Strait of Messina. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.2;it killed almost 100,000 people in the disaster.

Kashmir, Pakistan

On 8 October 2005, an earthquake of a 7.6 magnitude shook the Kashmir region, along with sections of Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. The Kashmir earthquake took place shortly after 8:50 a.m., local time and was centered about 12 miles northeast of Muzaffarabad the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. More than 80,000 people perished as a result of the quake.

Gansu, China

The 1932 Changma earthquake occurred on 25 December in Changma, Gansu Province with an estimated magnitude of 7.6 on the surface wave magnitude scale. The quake destroyed 1,167 houses and about 70,000 people were killed. A part of Great Wall Jiayuguan Pass collapsed. Aftershocks lasted as much as half a year.

Quetta, Pakistan

The Quetta earthquake occurred on 31 May 1935 between 2:33 a.m. and 3:40 a.m. which lasted for 3 minutes continuous aftershocks. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.5 Mw. The quake was centered 4 km south-west of Ali Jaan, Balochistan. Approximately 60,000 people died from the impact.

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