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TOP 10 DEADLIEST EARTHQUAKE IN HISTORY THAT YOU NEVER KNEW

Earthquakes are by no means a rare phenomenon. It’s estimated that the Earth is rocked by around half-a-million quakes each year. Most are clustered around the fault lines that divide the Earth’s tectonic plates, but others form deeper in the mantle and can strike anywhere in the world. Most of these earthquakes cause no damage and can’t even be detected without specialist equipment. Large earthquakes are considerably rarer, which is fortunate as they can cause immense destruction over vast distances, create killer tsunamis, and even trigger volcanic eruptions. In this list, we look at 10 of the most devastating earthquakes ever recorded.

10. Tabriz, Iran (1780)
Estimates of this 1700’s earthquake that shook the Tabriz region of Iran have reached as high as 200,000 deaths. The destructive quake nearly leveled all of Tabriz, leaving only 30,000 inhabitants left in the remains of the city. Multiple quakes shook Tabriz during the span of the 18th century, but the event on January 8th, 1780, at a magnitude of 7.7, is believed to have been the most devastating of the time and responsible for lasting damage to the Friday Mosque, the Blue Mosque, and Alishah, or Arg-e Alishah Mosque. 


9. Hongdong (1303)
On September 25th, 1303, the region of Hongdong, then under the rule of the Mongol Empire, suffered an estimated 200,000 casualties across the Shanxi Province during a destructive quake. The earthquake was believed to have reached a magnitude of eight and laid waste to nearby Zhaozheng and Huo Counties. Significant damage was dealt with over 100,000houses and other buildings, including the Ganying Temple of Quhuo of Huo County, DwongwuPavilion of Zhaozheng, and the Guangshang Temple of Hongdong. 



8. Aleppo (1138)
According to Egyptian historian Ibn Taghribirdi, upwards of 230,000 people were lost during the 1138 earthquake in Aleppo, Syria. Some sources, however, claim that figure stemmed from a merging of the 1137 quake along the Jazira plain and the 1139 quake in Transcaucasia. But judging by the destruction brought on by the October 11th disaster, Taghribirdi’s estimate could be accurate. The quake destroyed homes in Aleppo, crushing those that lived within them and even caused extensive damage in the nearby city of Harim, where a Crusader citadel collapsed. The quake was believed to have been felt upwards of 220 miles or 350 kilometers away at Damascus and was blamed for destroying a Muslim fort at Al-Atarib. 



7. Haiyuan, China (1920)
The Gansu province of China was met with nature’s wrath on December 16th, 1920 when a quake with an estimated magnitude of 7.8 to 8.5 wracked the city of Haiyuan. From the destructive force of the massive earthquake, a landslide formed, burying the Suijahe village in Xiji County. The cities of Longde, Taiyuan, Xi’an, Yinchuan, Lanzhou, and Huining also suffered greatly. Casualty estimates vary with the United StatesGeological Survey reporting 200,000 and the Catalog of Damaging Earthquakes and InternationalInstitute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering claiming closer to 235,500. 



6. Antioch (526 AD)
At a spot where four of Earth’s tectonic plates converge once sat the ancient city of Antioch which was founded in the late 4th century BC by Seleucus, one of Alexander the great's generals, it later became an epicenter for early Christianity. During the month of May in 526 AD, the city, which was believed to have a population of around 250,000, experienced a fatal blow. Everything from the large 200-year-old church to the inhabitants of the bustling city perished in a massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake, effectively wiping Antioch from the map. 



5. Antioch (115 AD)
Though the earthquake of 526 AD completely leveled Antioch, it wasn’t the first time the city experienced the wrath of Mother Nature. At a magnitude of 7.5, the quake of 115 ADwas featured in Cassius Dio’s Roman History and was described as having destroyed the city of Apamea and led to a tsunami striking the Lebanese coast. A record on the number of casualties has been sparse, but an estimate of 260,000 often tossed around accounts for the range of damage, including that felt within the nearby cities of Apamea, Beirut, Caesarea, and Yavneh. 



4. Sumatra-Andaman (2004)
While parts of the world were recuperating from their Christmas celebrations in 2004, much of Indonesia was facing an unstoppable grim reality. Early in the morning of December 26th, a magnitude9.1 to 9.3 earthquakes struck just off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, causing tremors in Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Madagascar, and Kenya. Though the quake was widespread, Indonesiafelt the brunt of the disaster, racking up a bulk of the total estimate of 280,000 casualties. Beyond the quake itself, which was the third-largest to be recorded on a seismograph, a tsunami with waves as high as 100 feet or 30 meters spawned, adding to the alleged $10 billion in damage. 



3. Haiti (2010)
The destructive force that shook through the West Indian island of Hispaniola in the country of Haiti stemmed from the movement of the Caribbean tectonic plates along with the Enriquillo-PlantainGarden strike-slip fault system. The level of damage and the hectic relief efforts that emerged after the January 2010 earthquake made pinpointing an exact death toll difficult, but the Haitian government produced a number of around 300,000, though many believe that to be greatly inflated. Shortly after the quake, the University of Michigan produced its own study into the damage and suggested an estimated 160,000 while the U.S.G.S. estimated closer to 100,000. Hundreds of thousands of Haitian natives were displaced and as many as 55,000 remained as such six years later. 



2. Tangshan, China (1976)
The Great Tangshan Earthquake was measured at a magnitude of 7.5 to 8.2 and, according to the Hebei Revolutionary Committee, was responsible for the deaths of up to 655,000people, with an additional 700,000 injuries. Reports from the Chinese Seismological Service in 1988 estimated that 242,419 lives were lost, but the Chinese government has ultimately refused to comment on the final tally. The center of the densely-populated city, which housed approximately 1.6 million people, was completely leveled during the 16-second quake, which generated along the Tangshan Fault. Despite the damage done, the Chinese government ordered the reconstruction of the city. 



1. Shaanxi, China (1556)
Estimated deaths from the Shaanxi earthquake of 1556 have reached as high as 830,000 people, and though the 8.3 magnitude quake was far from the strongest on record, a mix of its location and poor construction within the cities contributed to the massive death toll. The epicenter of the quake was pinpointed the Wei River Valley in the Shaanxi Province, near the cities of Huaxian, Weinan, and Huayin. Huaxian was destroyed and half of its population killed. Facing a similar scenario were Weinan, Huayin, and cities as far away as 300 miles or roughly 482 kilometers from the epicenter, which faced deadly landslides. 

So, these are the top 10 devastating earthquakes occurred in the history


Here is some other earthquakes that can be considered as the strongest earthquake in history.

1. Valdivia Earthquake(1960) 
In 1935 an American seismologist by the name of Charles Richter devised the famous Richter magnitude scale. By measuring seismographic readings, and then cross-referencing them with the distance from the seismographic disturbance, it became possible to measure the magnitude of an earthquake. The Richter scale increases exponentially, so a magnitude 7.0 isn’t just slightly bigger than a 6.0 magnitude earthquake, it’s ten times bigger. And a magnitude 8.0 is again ten times more powerful than a 7.0. By far the biggest earthquake ever measured, and by quite some distance, was the 1960 Valdivia earthquake off the coast of Chile. This megaquake was measured at an enormous9.5 on the magnitude scale, releasing roughly the same energy as 100 million tons of TNT. It literally shook the entire world, with the shock waves traveling down as far as the Earth’s molten core. It triggered tsunamis that traveled more than10,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean, killing hundreds of people as far away as Japan, Hawaii, and Australia. Chile was closest to the epicenter and suffered the worst of the devastation. Fortunately, however, the areas worst afflicted were sparsely populated. More than 5,000 people lost their lives, and two million more were made homeless, but given the ferocity of the earthquake, this could easily have been a great deal worse.


 2. Great Tohoku Earthquake 
On March 11, 2011, seismometers registered one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded. Eighty miles east of Japan the fault between two tectonic plates slipped by a record fifty meters. It released forces so great that it shifted the planet’s tilt on its axis and shortened its days by a fraction of a second. Recorded as an 8.9 on the magnitude scale, the Tohoku earthquake was vastly more powerful than the Great Kanto Earthquake that had unleashed such devastation to Japan in 1923. Japan’s population had been about a 58million; in 2011 it was closer to 130 million. Japan’s defenses proved themselves equal to the quake itself. In Tokyo and elsewhere skyscrapers swayed alarmingly as they were violently shaken for six long minutes. It is a testimony to exacting Japanese construction standards that none collapsed, but many inhabitants nonetheless quickly reassessed the wisdom of living so far above the ground. However, much worse was to come. The earthquake had created a huge tsunami, and it was rushing towards the coast at more than 500 miles per hour, which is roughly the cruising speed of a Boeing 737 jet airliner. The Japanese government had invested in substantial sea defenses to guard against just such an eventuality. Unfortunately, the wave was far bigger than anticipated, and it simply crashed over the defenses. Despite the considerable preparations Japan had put in place, 22,000 people were killed and the damages ran to something in the region of $360 billion.


 3. San Francisco Earthquake(1906)
The infamous San Andreas fault runs for almost800 miles straight through the American state of California. It forms the barrier between two of the largest tectonic plates that divide the surface of the Earth. California is effectively sitting on a ticking time bomb. None of this was widely understood by the residents of San Francisco when they were violently awakened just after 5 a.m. on April18, 1906. The earth shook for almost a minute in an earthquake estimated to have been as high as around 8 on the Richter scale. As devastating as the earthquake was, the fires that burned across San Francisco for three days caused the greatest loss of life. With water pipes across the city, ruptured firefighters struggled to bring the blazes under control, and huge swathes of the city were destroyed. More than 3,000 people were killed, and an astonishing 400,000 were left homeless. Rebuilding the ruined city cost an estimated$400 million, which equates to around $10 billion in today’s money.
4. The Great Kanto Earthquake 
Struck by as many as 1,500 earthquakes every year, Japan is one of the planets hot spots for seismic activity. It is for this reason that Japan has become the most prepared nation on the planet. Emergency drills are regularly practiced, new buildings are required by law to be earthquake resistant, and there is even an early warning app bundled with every smartphone. When a huge earthquake struck Tokyo and its surrounding areas on September 1, 1923, things were very different. Most Japanese buildings at the time were made of paper and wood. They stood no chance against an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale. To make matters worse the quake struck at midday, just as many Japanese were lighting fires to cook their meals. The resulting conflagration was so intense that it melted metal and claimed thousands of lives. The flames sucked in oxygen from the surrounding area, creating firestorms much like those created by the hug bombing raids of WorldWar Two. Some 44,000 people sought shelter by the banks of the River Sumida. Only around 300 of them survived after a wall of flame swept over them. The final death toll is unknown, but it's believed that more than 140,000 people lost their lives in the disaster. Half-a-million more were left homeless. It has even been suggested that the disaster sapped Japan of her optimism and helped set her on the path to aggressively nationalistic authoritarian rule.


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