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5 World Famous Earthquakes

Updated on March 7, 2012

There are always disasters created by man as well as natural such as earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tsunami etc in one or the other part of the world which result in loss of life and resources. While the man-made disasters are either acts of war, terrorists or of that sort, the remaining are referred to as act of god. Here is a list of the top 5 world famous earthquakes of all times that resulted in loss of thousands of lives and millions of worth of property.

1.Shaanxi earthquake, 1556

On February 14, 1556, Shaanxi province in Central China had a very rude awakening when the province was rocked by a massive earthquake. The earthquake measured a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale, and affected an area of 500 miles and about 10 provinces. The devastating earthquake took a toll of 830,000 lives and created an irreparable scar on the landscape. The earthquake of Shaanxi is probably the most devastating earthquake recorded till date.

2.Earthquake of Lisbon, 1755

Lisbon was hit by a highly destructive earthquake followed by resulting fire and tsunami On November 1st 1755. The earthquake measured a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale and its effect was felt in Finland. The earthquake created massive fissures throughout the city’s center. The earthquake destroyed few other cities in Portugal and Southwestern Spain. The fire which resulted due to the earthquake burned Lisbon for five days. The resulting tsunami too damaged the harbor areas in less than an hour. Due to this earthquake, tsunami and fire, almost four fifth of Lisbon was destroyed. It claimed 90,000 lives.

3.Alaska earthquake, 1964

One of the world famous earthquakes involves an Alaskan earthquake that occurred on March 27, 1964. Earthquake in Alaska is a regular phenomenon. Among them, this was probably the most powerful one which measured 9.2 on the Richter scale. The earthquake which lasted for over three minutes and the resulting tsunami claimed 128 lives and caused a loss of $311 million worth of property. The tsunami damaged the coast of Alaska, and the western coasts of United States and Canada. The effect also reached the Hawaiian Islands.

4.Peruvian earthquake, 1970

Another famous earthquake was the one that occurred in Peru on May 31st, 1970. The earthquake claimed more than 80,000 lives. Due to the earthquake, 20,000 people lost lives in the city of Huaraz. Since the earthquake occurred almost 15 miles off Peru’s coast and far below Pacific’s seafloor, there was no tsunami. However, there were other devastating events due to the earthquake.

The earthquake shook loose a massive amount of material from the 22,205-foot Huascaran Mountain. This resulted in a combination of landslide and avalanche of snow, rocks, ice and mud. This resulted in over 20,000 people getting buried alive in the nearby city of Yungay. When the earthquake and the resulting landslide-avalanche ended, more than 80,000 people had lost lives.

5.Indian Ocean Earthquake, 2004

One of the recent major earthquakes occurred on December 26, 2004 in the Indian Ocean. It can probably be termed the most devastating earthquake of the 21st century. The earthquake measured 9.3 on the Richter scale. The resulting tsunami caused disaster in most of the countries in that epicenter such as India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia. The loss of lives due to the earthquake and resulting tsunami was estimated between 175,000 to 250,000, though the actual number may have been much more. The earthquake was so massive that its effect was felt in South Africa (westward) and Mexico (eastward).

So, here are some of the world famous earthquakes which have appeared in the past five centuries. Do share with us which other earthquakes you know that have become famous and have rocked the world.


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      Emoni davis 3 years ago

      my famous earthquakes is in lisbon

    • profile image

      Emoni Davis 3 years ago

      I am so sorry

    • karthikkash profile image

      Karthik Kashyap 3 years ago from India

      Nazaneen: Thanks for the comments :) This was published more than a year ago..

    • profile image

      Nazaneen 3 years ago

      when I read that It was really good but where was it published

    • profile image

      Sammy 4 years ago

      I. Was. In. The. 2004. Tsunami. It. Hurt. Me. Very. Bad

    • karthikkash profile image

      Karthik Kashyap 4 years ago from India

      Kate: haha.. I too hope my ex dies in an earthquake. Unfortunately, nothing happens in Switzerland :D

    • profile image

      Kate 4 years ago

      I. Hope. My. Ex.boyfriend Larry. Dies. In. A. 8.7. Earthquake

    • profile image

      armando 5 years ago

      i don't get it im doing a project on idk wat

    • karthikkash profile image

      Karthik Kashyap 5 years ago from India

      thanks a lot crystolite :)

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 5 years ago from Houston TX

      This is serious disaster. Thanks for sharing Karth.

    • karthikkash profile image

      Karthik Kashyap 5 years ago from India

      thanks a lot, ohmy :)

    • profile image

      ohmy 5 years ago

      hi what good info for H W

    • profile image

      Mark 5 years ago


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      Shivalika 5 years ago

      its OK sir.

    • karthikkash profile image

      Karthik Kashyap 5 years ago from India

      thanks Pratyusha and Shivalika :)

    • profile image

      Shivalika 5 years ago

      Its toooooo good and useful.

    • profile image

      Pratyusha 5 years ago

      oh!my god!its just amazing.....................

    • profile image

      lolage 5 years ago


    • profile image

      MEEE 6 years ago


    • profile image

      Justin 6 years ago

      This is ggun nmnlbn


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