The 10 most severe earthquakes in world history have occurred in South America and Asia-Pacific countries, according to the US Geological Survey.
The Pacific seismic belt, called the “Ring of Fire”, witnesses 90% of all earthquakes in the world and about 80% of major earthquakes.
Earthquakes, divided into three categories as tectonic, volcanic, and collapsed, occur due to a sudden release of energy in the earth’s lithosphere that creates seismic waves.
Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives or been left homeless in the devastating earthquakes that have rocked the world over the past century.
The largest earthquake in the history of the world occurred in Chile on May 22, 1960. As a result of the magnitude 9.5 earthquake, some 1,655 people lost their lives, 3,000 people were injured and 2 million left homeless.
The tsunami, which came after the earthquake, caused $550 million in damage in the country. It also extended over an area of 10,000 kilometers (6,213 miles) and reached Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines. The giant waves killed 61 people in Hawaii, 138 in Japan and 32 in the Philippines.
The Alaska earthquake, recorded as the second largest earthquake, occurred on March 28, 1964. The magnitude 9.2 earthquake, which lasted three minutes, triggered a tsunami.
The tremor and huge waves killed 128 people and caused around $310 million in damage.
The small number of casualties in an earthquake of this magnitude was considered a “miracle”.
The longest earthquake occurred in Sumatra on December 26, 2004. The magnitude 9.1 earthquake lasted about 10 minutes and affected 14 countries in North Asia and East Africa , as well as Indonesia.
Around 230,000 people lost their lives in the earthquake, which is considered one of the deadliest natural disasters. Due to the earthquake and tsunami, more than 1.7 million people were left homeless.
The earthquake that occurred in the Tohoku region of Japan on March 11, 2011 was recorded as the country’s most severe earthquake to date.
The magnitude 9 earthquake created a 1 km (0.6 mi) fracture on the ocean floor, resulting in a tsunami on the country’s northeast coast.
As more than 19,000 people died due to the earthquake, a leak occurred at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
A magnitude 9 earthquake on November 4, 1952 in Kamchatka, northeastern Russia, caused high waves to form off the Hawaiian coast. Although there was no loss of life, $1 million in damage was caused.