For centuries, our earth has encountered natural calamities that include hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, natural fires, and other catastrophic events. Even though each one of these has caused destruction that cannot be undone, it is widely believed that out of all these natural calamities, earthquakes during the course of earth’s history have brought about the most destruction and disaster. In this write-up, we will take a sweeping glance at the deadliest earthquakes to have shaken up our motherland. This list has been compiled by keeping in mind the death toll, magnitude and the measurement of destruction including infrastructure and land caused by deadliest earthquakes/tsunamis till date. So, here is our list of the ten deadliest earthquakes ever!
10. Ashgabat, Turkmenistan : Deadliest Earthquakes
Earthquake that happened in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan back in 1948 makes it to our list of ten deadliest earthquakes to ever hit the mankind. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.3 Mw on the seismograph. It resulted in extreme damage in Ashgabat (also known as Ashkhabad) and the surrounding villages and suburbs. Nearly, 110, 000 people lost their lives and the damage to infrastructure is unmatched to that caused by any other natural calamities. Almost all the buildings in the hit-area collapsed, along with other concrete structures. Even the freight trains were derailed and the city was in a horrific state of rubble, with not even a single building standing. The tremors were also felt in the neighboring Iran, where some casualties and damage to the buildings also occurred.
9. Izmit, Turkey
Next on our list is the Izmit, Turkey earthquake, which occurred on the 17th August, 1990. Although, the earthquake lasted for a brief time of 3.7 seconds but with a magnitude of 7.9 Mw, it caused immeasurable destruction and damage. It reportedly killed around 50, 000 people, whereas the number of injured persons was reported to be around 33, 000. In terms of infrastructure, the destruction was immense – the earthquake caused damage to innumerable houses, making thousands homeless. A report suggested that around 120, 000 poorly-engineered houses collapsed, while 2,000 buildings turned into rubble within blink of an eye – in less than 4 seconds. With its contrast of brief time and great volume of destruction, the earthquake makes it to our list of ten deadliest earthquakes ever.
8. Sumatra, Indonesia
The earthquake in the Indian Ocean in 2004 with its cracking magnitude of 9.1 Mw definitely deserves a place in our list of ten deadliest earthquakes ever. Hitting the Indian Ocean on the 26th December, 2004, the tsunami earthquake claimed over 230, 000 human lives. This undersea mega thrust earthquake had its center in the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Triggering a series of Tsunamis, it affected people in fourteen surrounding countries. The hardest-hit country was the country of its center, which is Indonesia. However, destruction of great volume was also caused in other affected countries including India, Sri Lanka and parts of Thailand. It is believed that the destruction and damage caused by this natural calamity was the highest recorded in the world history to date. Although, the figures are disputed, but it is generally believed that it might have caused more destruction that the 2010, Haiti earthquake.
7. Aleppo, Syria
The disaster hit the area of Aleppo, in Syria, on the 11th October, 1138. This earthquake in considered to be one of the worst earthquakes to have hit the mankind owing to its high magnitude of 8.5 Mw. It totally runied the region of Aleppo. The total death toll recorded reached to 230, 000 and the number of injured persons was equally great. Many buildings collapsed, including a church. The nearby towns were all destroyed. It took years to rebuild the area in order to make it habitable again. Owing to the immeasurable destruction caused by this catastrophe, we include it in our list of ten deadliest earthquakes ever. This is probably the most ancient of all on our list.
6. Maule, Chile
On 27th February, 2010, a high-magnitude earthquake hit the area of Maule, in Chile. The magnitude of the earthquake was recorded to be as high as 8.8 Mw. It lasted for more than 3 minutes, during which a great destruction in terms of infrastructure was caused. Although the death toll was fairly low with 500 people losing their lives to the ill-fated day, around 25 people were reported to be missing and it damaged the port at Talcahuano. The earthquake is often cited as one among the largest earthquakes ever to be recorded by a seismograph. And this is why we have included it here on our list of ten deadliest earthquakes ever.