Top 10 Deadliest Earthquakes Ever Experienced By Humans

As Charles Kuralt (An American journalist ) said “It takes an earthquake to remind us that we walk on the crust of an unfinished planet.”  An earthquake can be a disaster if it surpasses a certain magnitude level.

The number of people killed in an earthquake depends on location and population density. Even if larger earthquakes have been known to occur, only these 10 have claimed the lives of almost 2.5 million people. Asia has had nine of the deadliest earthquakes in recorded history. China now has the highest number of earthquake fatalities.

We have created a list of the Top 10 Deadliest earthquakes and their magnitude levels too. Keep Reading to know about the 10 deadliest earthquakes ever experienced by humans.

10. 2012 Sumatra Earthquake – magnitude level of  8.6

A magnitude 8.6 underwater earthquake struck the Indian Ocean on April 11, 2012, at 15:38 local time, close to the Indonesian city of Aceh. Authorities responded to a tsunami alert but later discontinued it. The strongest documented strike-slip earthquake occurred during these extraordinarily powerful intraplate earthquakes.

Sumatra Earthquake
Sumatra Earthquake

There were reports of tsunamis ranging in size from 10 cm to 0.8 meters (3.9 inches to 31.4 inches), however, none of them were devastating because they happened so far away from populated areas. Ten fatalities and twelve injuries were recorded, most of which were due to anxiety and/or heart attacks.

 9. Assam-Tibet Earthquake – With 8.6 Magnitude Level

The Xizang-India border region experienced an earthquake on August 15, 1950, with the epicenter being close to Rima, Tibet. As a result of the earthquake, numerous structures were demolished, and between 1.500 and 3.000 people perished.

Large landslides obstructed the Subansiri River after the earthquake. 8 days later, this natural barrier collapsed, unleashing a 7 m (23 ft) high wave that flooded several communities and claimed the lives of 536 people. Additionally, the earthquake left about 5,000,000 people homeless.

8. Earthquake in Rat Islands in 1965 – Magnitude level of 8.7

The 1965 Rat Islands Earthquake struck on February 4 at 05:01 UTC (19:01, February 3, local time). Due to its remote location, it only created a tsunami on Shemya Island in Alaska that was above 10 meters (33 feet) in height.

7. Earthquake in Ecuador and Colombia in 1906: 7.8 Magnitude

On January 31, 1906, at 15:36 UTC, a large earthquake off the coast of Ecuador, close to Esmeraldas, occurred (a coastal city in northwestern Ecuador). The deaths were caused by massive tsunamis that were up to 5 meters (16 feet) high.

6.Earthquake In Maule(Chile) 2010 – With 8.8 magnitude

The 2010 Chile earthquake, often referred to as the 2010 Maule Earthquake, struck the Maule Region of Chile on February 27, 2010, at 03:34 local time (06:34 UTC), roughly 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) off the coast of the Pelluhue commune. Three minutes or so passed during the prolonged shaking. The tsunami brought on by the earthquake completely destroyed a number of coastal communities in south-central Chile. The Talcahuano port was badly harmed by the tsunami.

Earthquake In Maule(Chile) 2010
Earthquake In Maule(Chile) 2010

Numerous cities, including the capital Santiago, saw building collapses that resulted in many fatalities. In January 2011, the authorities released the ultimate death toll of 525 deaths and 25 people still missing.

5. 1952 Kamchatka, Russia Earthquake  – 9.0

In the extreme east of Russia, off the shore of the Kamchatka Peninsula, a massive earthquake struck on November 4, 1952, at 16:58 GMT (04:58 local time). It generated a massive, deadly tsunami that swept across the whole Pacific Ocean, with waves as high as 15 meters (50 feet).

That severely damaged the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Kuril Islands and resulted in the deaths of between 10,000 and 15,000 people. Although it caused significant damage to the Hawaiian Islands as well, the tsunami was not responsible for any fatalities. The waves reached New Zealand, Peru, and Chile. There have been reports of tsunami waves up to 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) in height in Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and California.

4. In 2011 An Earthquake Shook Tōhoku – 9.1

A significant underwater megathrust earthquake notes 1 happened off the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, at 14:46 local time (05:46 UTC). An enormous tsunami with waves as high as 40.5 meters (133 feet) was caused by the earthquake. It was one of the deadliest in recorded history; the waves inflicted major structural damage in northeastern Japan, traveling as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).

Airports, highways, and railroads were destroyed, and 127,290 buildings were complete, 272,788 partially, and 747,989 were partially damaged. A dam gave way. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex’s three reactors had level 7 meltdowns (the greatest level of the nuclear accident; see notes 2) as a result of the tsunami.

On March 10, 2015, it was revealed that there had been a total of 15,894 fatalities, 6,152 injuries, and 2,562 reported missing.

3. Earthquake In Sumatra (2004)– 9.1

The 2004 Sumatra Earthquake, also known as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, happened at 00:58:53 UTC on 26 December off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The fault ruptured 1500 kilometers, the longest ever (900 miles). The tsunami’s 30-meter (100-foot) waves killed up to a quarter-million people.

Sumatra Earthquake (2004)
Sumatra Earthquake (2004)

The earthquake’s faulting lasted 8.3–10 minutes, the longest ever. The planet vibrated 1 centimeter (0.4 inches). The earthquake released 9,600 gigatons of TNT, 550 million times the Hiroshima atomic bomb’s energy. Underground energy dominated. The Earth expelled 26 megatons of TNT or 1.1×1017 joules. This energy is 1,500 times the Hiroshima atomic bomb but less than Tsar Bomba, the greatest nuclear weapon ever exploded.

2. Great Alaska Earthquake (1964)– 9.2

The 1964 Great Alaska earthquake, commonly known as the Good Friday earthquake, occurred in Prince William Sound at 5:36 PM (local time, 3:36 UTC) on Good Friday, March 27. The strongest U.S. earthquake lasted 4.5 minutes.

The earthquake caused a 27-foot (8.2 meters) tsunami that demolished Chenega, killing 23 of its 68 residents. Survivors climbed high. A large underwater landslide resulted. Port Valdez harbor and docks collapsed, killing 30. 15 died in the earthquake, 106 in Alaska, 5 in Oregon, and 13 in California.

1.  Valdivia Earthquake In 1960 –  Massive 9.5 Magnitude

It was the strongest earthquake ever recorded. The earthquake occurred at 19:11 GMT (15:11 local time) on May 22 around 100 miles (160 km) off Chile’s coast, parallel to Valdivia.


It caused a 25-meter tsunami in 10 minutes (82 feet). The primary tsunami ravaged Chile and Hilo, Hawaii. Japan and the Philippines measured 10.7-meter (35-foot) waves 10,000 kilometers (6,200 km) from the epicenter. The 1960 Valdivia Earthquake and tsunamis killed 1,000–6,000 people. 3,000 were hurt.

This article is written based on the information we gathered from


About John King

I've loved writing and learning about things ever since I was a little boy. I love my job as an author for a news company in Chicago, where I live. I've always wanted to help people learn about and keep up with the latest news. I'm very passionate about what I do, and I'm sure that hard work always pays off. I really like what I do, and I'm lucky that I can call it my job. I usually spend my free time reading or hanging out with my family and friends.

Leave a Comment