Earthquakes are probably the most horrifying natural calamities to hit mankind. An earthquake is also known as a quake, temblor is the result of a sudden release of underground stress or energy along fault lines, that creates seismic waves. The seismic activity of an area means the frequency, type and size of earthquakes. When the epicenter of a large earthquake is located offshore, the seabed may be displaced sufficiently to cause a Tsunami. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides, and occasionally volcanic activity.
The size, or magnitude, of earthquakes is usually expressed in terms of the Richter scale, which assigns levels from 1.0 or lower to 9.0 or higher. Magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes are usually almost imperceptible and magnitude 7 and over potentially causes serious damage. The largest earthquakes in historic times have been of magnitude slightly over 9; it was an Earthquake of magnitude 9.5 occurred off the coast of Chile in 1960.while there is no limit to the possible magnitude. In spite of wide research and sophisticated equipment, it is still impossible to predict an earthquake, although experts can estimate the likelihood of an earthquake occurring in a specific region.
The following list presents the deadliest ever earthquakes.
1. Shaanxi (Shensi), China -1556/01/23:
The 1556 Shaanxi winter earthquake is the deadliest earthquake on record. This Earthquake of 8.0 causes more than 820,000 casualties. It was about (80 km) east-northeast of Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi. The most significant factor contributing to the high death toll was that the majority of population lived in artificial caves or Yaodongs, most of which collapsed. Such was the intensity of the earthquake that hills and valleys were formed in an instant and many rivers changed course. In many references, this earthquake is referred to as the “Shensi Province earthquake of 1556″
2. Haiti region -2010/01/12
The Haiti Earthquake of 2010 is the second deadliest earthquake on the record. According to official estimates, 316,000 people killed, 300,000 injured, 1.3 million displaced, 97,294 houses destroyed and 188,383 damaged in the Port-au-Prince area and in much of southern Haiti.
3. Tangshan, China -1976/07/27:
In 1976, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 hit the Tansghan region of China. According to Official casualty figure is 242,769 deaths. Estimated death toll as high as 655,000,799,000 injured and extensive damage in the Tangshan area.. It was also discovered that a local geologist had observed anomalies and warned officials about the impending disaster. The earthquake was followed soon by the deaths of Prime Minister, Zhou Enlai, and Communist leader, Mao Tse-tung.
4. Aleppo, Syria- 1138/08/09:
The great Aleppo earthquake in 1138 is estimated to have taken around 230,000 lives. The earthquake destroyed the town and surroundings and also triggered a tsunami. The disaster occurred at the time of the Crusades and many mercenaries from both sides lost their lives.
5.Sumatra , Indonesia 2004/12/26:
This was the third largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake. In total, 227,898 people were killed or were missing and presumed dead and about 1.7 million people were displaced by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 14 countries in South Asia and East Africa. This undersea earthquake, with an epicenter off the west coast of Indonesia, triggered tsunamis which smashed into coastal areas thousands of kilometers from the epicenter.
6. Damghan, Iran 856/12/22:
Iran has always been highly susceptible to earthquakes due to its location along fault lines. The 856 Damghan earthquakes, which cause an estimated 200,000 casualties, was the most devastating in the nations history.
7. Haiyuan, Ningxia (Ning-hsia),China -1920/12/16:
An Earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 hit Lijunbu-Haiyuan-Ganyanchi area in China which cost an estimated 200,000 lives.Over 73,000 people were killed in Haiyuan . A landslide buried the village of Sujiahe in Xiji. More than 30,000 people were killed in Guyuan. Nearly all the houses collapsed in the cities of Longde and Huining.
8. Ardabil, Iran -893/03/23:
The memories of the massive Damghan earthquake had barely faded when only 37 years later, Persia was again hit by a huge Earthquake. This time it cost 150,000 lives and destroyed the largest city in northwestern Persia. The town was again hit by a fatal earthquake in 1997.
9. Kanto (Kwanto), Japan -1923/09/01:
Extreme destruction in the Tokyo Yokohama area from the earthquake and subsequent firestorms, which burned about 381,000 of the more than 694,000 houses that were partially or completely destroyed. Although often known as the Great Tokyo Earthquake of a with a magnitude of 7.9 the damage was apparently most severe at Yokohama.
10.Ashgabat (Ashkhabad), Turkmenistan USSR -1948/10/05:
In the early hours of October 6, 1948, the sleepy Ashgabat was destroyed by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. Extreme damage in Ashgabat (Ashkhabad) and nearby villages, where almost all brick buildings collapsed, concrete structures were heavily damaged and freight trains were derailed. Many sources list the casualty total at 10,000, but a news release on 9 Dec 1988 advised that the correct death toll was 110,000.