Technology & Science

Worst earthquakes of the past 5 decades

Where the worst earthquakes of the past 50 years hit, and how bad they were.

Where they hit, how bad they were

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      A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, killing thousands, triggering avalanches on Mount Everest, and destroying buildings and historic temples in the surrounding area, including the capital city of Kathmandu.

      Major earthquakes are one of the most destructive events in the natural world. They are unpredictable and can kill thousands of people and obliterate homes, buildings and roads in a matter of seconds. Undersea quakes can also trigger tsunamis

      Earthquakes capable of causing widespread damage, injury and death have hit populated areas every year over the past decade. More than three million people were killed in quakes in the 20th century.

      These are the major quakes that have hit populated regions over the past five decades:

      Worst earthquakes of the past 5 decades

      Date Location  Magnitude Estimated death toll
      May 12, 2015 Nepal, near Namche Bazaar 7.3 More than 30

      April 25, 2015

      Nepal, near Kathmandu 7.8

      More than 8,050 

        

      Aug. 3, 2014

      China, Near Wenping 6.1

      More than 700

      Sept. 24, 2013

      Southwestern Baluchistan, Pakistan 7.7 More than 825

      April 16, 2013

      Iran 7.8 40

      Sept. 5, 2012

      Costa Rica 7.9 Tsunami alert

      Aug. 31, 2012

      Philippines  7.6 1

      Aug. 11, 2012

      Northwestern Iran  6.4 and 6.3 306

      April 11, 2012

      Indian Ocean  8.6 Tsunami alert issued, no major damage

      Oct. 23, 2011

      Turkey  7.2 603

      April 7, 2011

      Japan 7.1 3

       March 11, 2011

      Japan 9.0 More than 18,000 (9,000 missing)

      Feb. 27, 2010

       Chile 8.8 524 killed

      Jan. 12, 2010

       Haiti 7.0 85,000 to 316,000 (gov't estimates)

      Sept. 30, 2009

       Near Padang, Indonesia  7.6 1,110

      April 6, 2009

       Near L'Aquila, Italy 6.3 283

      May 12, 2008

       Sichuan province, southwest China  7.8 More than 80,000

      Sept. 12, 2007

      Sumatra, Indonesia 8.5 More than 25 killed

      Aug. 15, 2007

      Peru 8.0 500

      May 27, 2006

       Java, Indonesia  6.3 More than 5,500

      Oct. 8, 2005

       Pakistan-administered Kashmir  7.6 80,000

      March 28, 2005

       Indonesia 8.7 More than 1,300

      Dec. 26, 2004

       Off the coast of Indonesia  9.0 230,000 (includes tsunami)

      Dec. 26, 2003

       Bam, Iran 6.6 26,271

      June 21, 1990

       Iran 7.7 35,000

      Dec. 7, 1988

      Armenia 6.9 More than 25,000

      Sept. 19, 1985

       Mexico 8.1 9,500

      Sept. 16, 1978

       Iran 7.9 15,000

      July 28, 1976

       China 8.2

      242,000

      Feb. 4, 1976

      Guatemala 7.5 More than 23,000

      Feb. 4, 1965

      Rat Islands, Alaska 8.7 Triggers 11-metre-high tsunami

      March 28, 1964

      Prince William Sound, Alaska 9.2 131 killed, including 128 by a tsunami

      May 22, 1960

      Southern Chile 9.5 More than 1,700

      SOURCE: U.S. Geological Survey