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Featured Timeline:

A Timeline of the Biggest Earthquakes in Recent History

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Tuesday, April 2, 2014 marked another in a long line of Chilean earthquakes. The recent earthquake reached an 8.2 magnitude on the Moment magnitude scale. But what is surprising is the ‘minimal damage’ as a result of the quake. As can be seen in the ‘Timeline of the Biggest Earthquakes in Recent History’ above, many of the larger earthquakes in recent history have had a tremendous cost in both human life and infrastructure. Chile has taken many steps since 1960 to improve their infrastructure and earthquake preparedness.


Event Date
Bhuj, Gujarat
7.9 magnitude, about 20,000 dead
January 26, 2001
Bam, Iran
26,000+ dead
December 26, 2003
Indian Ocean quake triggers Tsunami
9.2 magnitude, 220,000 dead
December 26, 2004
Pakistan occupied Kashmir
7.6 magnitude, 73,000 dead
October 08, 2005
Java, Indonesia
6.2 magnitude, 5,700+ dead
May 27, 2006
Lima, Peru
Epicenter under seabed, 519 dead
August 15, 2007
Sichuan Province in China
8.0 magnitude, 87,000 dead or missing
May 12, 2008
Quetta, Pakistan
6.4 magnitude, 300 dead
October 29, 2008
La’Aquila, Italy
6.3 magnitude, 300 dead
April 06, 2009
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
7.0 magnitude, about 230,000 dead
January 12, 2010
8.8 magnitude, 450+ dead
February 27, 2010
Qinghai Province in China
6.9 magnitude, 400+ dead
April 14, 2010
Sumatra, Indonesia
7.9 magnitude, 1,000 dead
September 29, 2010
Christchurch, New Zealand
6.3 magnitude, 185 dead
February 22, 2011
Japan, Tsunami triggered by earthquake
9.0 magnitude, 19,000 dead or missing
March 11, 2011
Van, Turkey
7.2 magnitude, 604 dead
October 23, 2011
East Azerbaijan and Iran
6.4 magnitude, 306 dead
August 11, 2012
Guatemala and Mexico
7.4 magnitude, 139 dead
November 07, 2012
8.2 magnitude, 6 dead and over a million displaced
April 01, 2014

Earthquake Facts:

  • Chile has had over 90 earthquakes since 1900 registering above 6.0 on the Moment magnitude scale.
  • The largest ever recorded earthquake was a 9.5 magnitude and occurred in Chile on May 22, 1960.
  • It is not usually the earthquake itself that claims lives, but the destruction of man-made structures or other natural disasters caused by the earthquake, ie. tsunamis or landslides.
  • On average, there are 500,000 detectable earthquakes that occur each year. Of those, 100,000 can be felt and 100 cause damage.
  • Earthquakes below a 3.0 on the Moment magnitude scale are largely imperceptible.
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