Today one of the deadliest earthquakes hit near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan with a subsequent tsunami wreaking havoc on the region. Although no casualties have been reported, already an estimated 400 are dead. The earthquake was reported at 8.9 magnitude and is being considered one of the worst Japan has ever seen. The world has a history of deadly earthquakes. According to the USGS, some of the deadliest ever recorded include the following:
The deadliest earthquake ever recorded occurred in 1556. An estimated magnitude 8.0 earthquake hit Shaanxi, China. It occurred about 50 miles outside of the capital of Shaanxi and left more than 830,000 dead. The damage extended as far away as Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi and about 270 miles northeast of the epicenter.
In 1976 in Tangshan, China, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit. 255,000 deaths were officially reported but the estimated death toll was as high as 655,000. Another 799,000 were reported injured and extensive damage in the Tang-Shan area with damage extending as far away as Beijing. This would be considered the second greatest in recorded history and has probably the greatest death toll from an earthquake in the last four centuries.
In 2004, The third largest earthquake in the world since 1900 hit Sumatra with a reported magnitude of 9.1. 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. The tsunami caused more casualties than any other in recorded history and was recorded nearly world-wide on tide gauges in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Seiches were observed in India and the United States. Subsidence and landslides were observed in Sumatra. A mud volcano near Baratang, Andaman Islands became active on December 28 and gas emissions were reported in Arakan, Myanmar.
In 2010, A 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. According to official estimates, 222,570 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.
As far as strongest, there are currently only five earthquakes recorded in history that have had a stronger magnitude than today’s earthquake that hit Japan. The five strongest magnitude earthquakes include:
1. May 22, 1960, the largest magnitude earthquake, 9.5, hit Valdivia, Chile.
2. March 27, 1964, a magnitude 9.2 hit Prince Island Sound, USA.
3. December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.1 hit Sumatra, Indonesia.
4. November 4, 1952 a magnitude 9.0 hit Kamchatka, Russia, known as the USSR.
5. August 13, 1868 a magnitude 9.0 hit Arica, Chile.
6.January 26, 1700 a magnitude 9.0 hit Cascadia, a region 600 miles long that includes northern California, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia.