Famous Earthquakes In The Us, Europe, Middle East And Asia

famous earthquakes
Credit: Google Map

Famous earthquakes can almost be expected to happen along what is known as the Pacific Rim, from the west coast of South America and the United States, Alaska, Japan, the coastal areas of China, and into Indonesia. Other earthquake-prone areas are in the Middle East (Iran), and southern Europe (the Balkans and Italy). Iran in particular suffers from many quakes, not all of them of a major magnitude, but as so many of the buildings are old, or constructed of mud and stone, many deaths occur as buildings collapse. A 6.7 Magnitude earthquake which occurred in 2003 in the city of Bam killed over 30,000, and destroyed nearly three-quarters of the city.

Famous Earthquakes in the US

The Good Friday Quake – Two of the largest earthquakes to have hit the United States in recent history were the Magnitude 9.0 quake in Cascadia (Pacific Northwest), which occurred in 1700, and the 1964 Alaska Quake, known as the “Good Friday Earthquake”. This earthquake measured 9.2 and caused great damage in the city of Anchorage. Areas of the earth opened up, other parts of the earth dropped several feet in elevation, and the earthquake also generated a tsunami, whose impact was felt in Japan. The fact that only 115 deaths were attributed to the Good Friday quake is partly due to low population density in most areas experiencing the quake, and the type of home construction prevalent in the Anchorage area. There were no ancient brick and stone buildings which so often collapse during a quake of much less magnitude.

Famous Earthquakes in the Europe

The Lisbon Quake – A (2009) quake in Italy killed several hundred, many of the deaths being attributed to the collapse of ancient structures. Among the largest of Europe’s famous earthquakes is undoubtedly the 1755 Lisbon, Portugal earthquake. This earthquake, estimated to be in the neighborhood of a Magnitude 9, devastated the city of Lisbon, which at the time was one of the major cities of Europe in terms of culture and political power. Fire also followed this earthquake, and a tsunami was also created, though there appears to be no record of major damage due to the tsunami. Up to 100,000 people in the greater Lisbon area are believed to have perished.

Famous Earthquakes in the Asia

Recent Chinese Earthquakes – China experienced two famous earthquakes in 1975 and 1976. The 1975 earthquake in Haicheng was particularly notable in that it was successfully predicted, based on a rise in frequency of low-level quake activity, and the people of the city were evacuated before the earthquake hit. This Magnitude 7.0 quake did kill about 2,000 people, but the number could have been much, much more. One year later, in 1976, an earthquake which was not predicted, struck Tangshan, killing 250,000. The death toll in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake killed 10,000. This quake was very powerful, a Magnitude 7.9, destroying many buildings, including many of recent construction. This earthquake is also memorable as it happened only a few months before China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

The Sumatra Quake And Tsunami – Of the famous earthquakes most likely to stick in our memories is the 2004 Sumatra quake and tsunami, which occurred the day after Christmas, and killed a quarter of a million people throughout Southeast Asia. This quake was a Magnitude 9.0 but the event most remembered is the tsunami. Waves of up to 20 feet high struck coastal areas in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India. Many lives could have undoubtedly have been saved had a tsunami warning system been in place, such as is the case in Hawaii, Japan, and many other locations in the Pacific. A warning system though would have done little to prevent the massive property destruction which occurred.

There will undoubtedly be earthquakes as long as there is an earth. We can only hope that we are not closely involved with famous earthquakes of the future. An earthquake is one of the more terrifying experiences we are apt to have, certainly an experience in which one feels completely helpless. Let’s all hope that some of the more dire predictions will never come to be, that a Magnitude 9.0 will not strike the Pacific Northwest (after a 300 year respite), or that California will not slide into the Pacific. Hopefully, we’ll only experience a few rattling dishes on occasion, just a reminder that things are constantly going on beneath our feet. Deadliest earthquakes can be seen on

famous earthquakes
Credit: Google Map


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