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What is the Biggest Earthquake Ever Recorded?

Mary McMahon
Updated: May 21, 2024

The extensive records of the United States Geological Service (USGS) show that the biggest earthquake since 1900 occurred near the cities of Valdivia and Puerto Montt, Chile, in 1960. Known as the Great Chilean Earthquake, the quake measured 9.5 on the Richter scale. The death toll is not known, although the USGS estimates that about 1,655 people died, and the earthquake may have caused as much as $800 billion US Dollars (USD) in damage. It is possible, however, that some earlier events that occurred before accurate measurements could be made may have been even more powerful. The number of fatalities and the amount of damage depend not only on the magnitude of the quake, but also on where it occurs, with those that are close to heavily populated areas being the deadliest.

The Richter Scale

Earthquakes have been recorded on seismographs as wavy lines on graph paper since the late 19th century. In 1935, the physicist and seismologist Charles F. Richter developed a scale for measuring their strength, based on seismograph recordings. The scale is exponential, meaning that each whole value represents a shock with ten times the magnitude of the preceding whole value. For example, an earthquake that measures 8.0 on the Richter scale has ten times the magnitude of one that measures 7.0. There is no upper limit to the scale, but 9.5, for the Great Chilean Earthquake, is the highest measurement ever recorded. This is equivalent to the detonation of 2.7 gigatons (billion tons) of TNT.

The Great Chilean Earthquake

The Earth’s crust is made up of “plates” that float on denser magma below, and move relative to one another. Sometimes two continental plates will crash into one another, and sometimes an oceanic plate will move under a continental one. This is happening off the west coast of South America, which is known as a subduction zone. On 22 May 1960, part of the oceanic plate near the coat of Chile moved under the South American continental plate. This disturbance caused land along the Chilean coast to suddenly drop by about ten feet (three meters), and ground further inland to rise by about twenty feet (six meters).

This abrupt shift caused the biggest earthquake ever recorded, and a major tsunami. Many of the buildings in the affected cities had been designed to withstand earthquakes, and a number of smaller quakes in the months leading up to this disaster had given some warning. This lessened the impact of the earthquake itself, but it was the tsunami that was responsible for most of the casualties and damage. The massive wave affected not only Chile, but also caused deaths and damage as far away as Hawaii, Japan, and the Philippines.

Other Big Earthquakes in Modern Times

In terms of events that were studied, measured, and recorded on the Richter scale, the Great Chilean Earthquake was far and away the biggest ever. Keeping in mind that the Richter scale runs along an exponential progression, the next largest was at Prince William Sound, Alaska in 1964, which measured 9.2. The third biggest earthquake ever recorded, was under the Indian Ocean in 2004, clocking in at 9.1 on the Richter scale and generating a formidable tsunami that devastated much of the coastline of Southeast Asia, and killed nearly 228,000 people.

Historical Earthquakes

It is highly probable that some ancient earthquakes were of an even higher magnitude than the 1960 Chile disaster, but because the Richter scale was not developed until the 1930s, it is difficult to quantitatively compare them. Retrospective examination of seismograph records dating back to around 1900 allows estimates to be made, but for earlier events, any assessment of the severity can only be based on eyewitness accounts, and the amount of damage done. For example, the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was by all accounts very severe, and it generated a massive tsunami which magnified the death toll. The Shaanxi earthquake which occurred in China in the 1500s was the deadliest known to history, killing almost one million people. This event may also have been the biggest known to man, but there is simply no way to tell.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All The Science researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon994735 — On Mar 03, 2016

I use one good app for Apple devices: "Pulse of Earth" to monitor earthquakes.

You can see in real-time all the seismic activity of our planet, or choose any day in history.

The application has no ads, and no paid subscriptions. That's already a rarity these days, yes? It has all the features in the application for free and is ready to use in full power. The information is on the map without any lists or obscure data.

It's simple, very clear and understandable. Where, when and how strong.

By anon295872 — On Oct 08, 2012

My teacher always says that earthquakes do not kill people, but that falling buildings do. she's the best science teacher ever!

By anon249800 — On Feb 22, 2012

How big were Thera's earthquakes?

By anon249750 — On Feb 22, 2012

anon213222: It's called "Mother Nature" and movement of tectonic plates due to built up pressure.

By anon231274 — On Nov 23, 2011

And in the past, they believed the earth was flat as well.

By anon213222 — On Sep 10, 2011

The Bible points out that a great earthquake will happen and island will disappear and mountains will vanish. God is the creator of all.

If you look through Revelations its takes about mark of the beast where no one can sell or buy without the mark. The New World Order is bringing it all into focus and going to do just that. How could anyone thousands of years ago know about this unless it was divine intervention that happened for them to see and write about it? God is very real. Stop being fooled.

By anon209761 — On Aug 27, 2011

The biggest earthquake ever recorded was the one in Valdivia- Chile (1960), which measured 9.5.

In fact, there were two earthquakes: the first one was 7.0 and a second 9,5. After that a tsunami occurs and the Puyehue volcano made eruption.

By anon194018 — On Jul 06, 2011

First things first. God does not exist, please stop talking like he/it does. Second, there's going to be a massive earthquake possibly 10.0 or larger on 26/27 Sep 2011, if you or friends or family live on the fault lines, please prepare for this date. I'm not trying to scare people, just warning them. Damien-Ireland.

By anon168681 — On Apr 18, 2011

Having been in a 7.2, I really cannot image being in something larger. I currently live just six miles from our coast line which is just east of the Cascadia Subduction Zone which is 11 years over due for an event of 8.5 or higher.

By anon168641 — On Apr 18, 2011

Why is it that no one remembers or refers to the Great Alaskan Earthquake that too place in 1965 (I think) that scientists and earthquake specialists state that was of a 9.9 magnitude and parts of Alaska slid into the ocean. The part that went into the ocean was some of a city called Spenard. FEMA didn't exist at the time -- just the two military bases Fort Richardson (army) and Elmendorf AFB and the local citizenry did all the work.

Why is this disaster never mentioned anywhere? Could it be because it didn't take place outside of the U.S.?

By anon168637 — On Apr 18, 2011

Hopefully, I'll be five o'clock somewhere when the big one hits. I'll need a drink.

By anon164015 — On Mar 30, 2011

I don't think that the earthquake in Chile was the biggest. I estimate that the biggest earthquake was the Shaanx Earthquake which happened in China in the 1500's. What do you guys think?

By anon160736 — On Mar 16, 2011

Hopefully we don't get a 10.0 earthquake

By tb12 — On Mar 14, 2011

anon155232: the world is not going to end!

By anon159879 — On Mar 13, 2011

I was in Chile for the latest earthquake, the 8.8 richter scale magnitude. it was unbelievably strong and long, you can't even imagine.

I'm from Chile so I'm used to earthquakes, but this was by far the biggest. It is ranked top 5 in history, and my parents were at the 9.5 in Valdivia in the 60's, so don't come and cry about a 7.1 or 7.5. That is common here. A couple of weeks ago we had a 7.2 in Concepcion. Cheers

By anon159358 — On Mar 11, 2011

anon155232 you are right

By anon155232 — On Feb 23, 2011

i don't understand why everyone does not know what earthquakes mean. go read matthew 24:3 onward.

By anon153830 — On Feb 18, 2011

Recently a video was posted to YouTube asking, Is Indonesia Sinking? The video shows a plane flying over what is clearly the ocean swamping the entire country. For visible proof, A "river" is seen that is flowing to the sea/ocean. If rain was causing the "flooding?" then the banks of the river would be overflowing, not! You can see the ocean is swamping everything.

Australia was covered with water the size of Texas? China and other countries all flooding?

Is there a way to do a GPS on these Locations to see if in fact, they are still at their sea level? Or have the Indonesian Islands started sinking. If the Dec 24,2004 quake can move an island 100 feet, Can it also move it up or down too? MIT

By anon131089 — On Dec 01, 2010

@anon113505: That is not true! I also lived it! Theirs lasted several seconds longer than ours.

By anon127031 — On Nov 14, 2010

i was in the christchurch earthquake two months ago. still getting aftershocks, some scary big ones too.

By anon127029 — On Nov 14, 2010

The New Zealand one in christchurch i was in that. It was 7.1 and then it went mexico with a 6.9. what's happening with the world?

By anon126461 — On Nov 12, 2010

Allow me to inform all you that quakes are necessary for the salvation and real freedom of Earth.

Our planet must be compared with a huge ship that is steadfastly being towed by powerful tugboats, so as to avoid that the tide takes the ship along throughout the ocean.

And whereas the tag boat increases the power, the structures which makes up the ship tends to shake or thrill.

Then, quakes must be considered as cosmic commonplace events, necessary for the relocation of Earth to its primordial positioning beyond the comic axis. As soon as our planet be relocated to its primordial positioning, we will live in the same dimensional plan of the other planets which make up our solar system.

However, I hope all you can understand the meaning of this brief explanation, and prepare yourselves to witness the series of quakes that will start mainly all over the pacific Ocean, as soon as the Mt Merapi volcano sleeps.

But, do not take these quakes as signals or signs of the end of the world, just warnings about the brief sinking of Hawaii and part of bali in Indonesia. Thanks so much!

By anon114314 — On Sep 28, 2010

Post 62. I believe in everything you just said except

"while people are pleasantly eating in their houses, other people are suffering and dying."

Please stop trying to make people feel bad. Just because a family can maybe just afford to eat dinner at a table doesn't mean they are doing anything bad. I agree that people should look after each other, but be able to care for their own family as well.

But yeah, rich people should be doing something about it. The world would be much happier if many were like Michael Jackson. He cared for the poor and hungry -- even normal families, too!

By anon113505 — On Sep 24, 2010

I was in the christchurch, new zealand earthquake of 7.1 on the richter scale and that was 10 times bigger than haiti's. it was scary.

By anon83296 — On May 10, 2010

Joshua Nathan-if you are reading this, please listen up! All this talk about 2012, the end of the world is not true. God is coming back soon. He will take away his true believers very soon and then the great tribulation will begin and i don't want you to be left behind and face God's wrath so get saved today before it's too late.

By anon77867 — On Apr 15, 2010

Dear, #71 anon77205 and #72 anon 77215 this is #68 anon76248

#71 anon77205 and #72 anon77215 - I would just like to clarify that I've been to elementary and to high school and I do have a Civil Engineering background and do have an understanding of plate tectonics in regards to shear and stress subduction etc. I think you have missed the point I was trying to make? Yes, we can all say that there are stresses which build up at points where plates meet each other. Instead of focusing all our attention on the faults. Why not look outside the box and step back and say to yourself, Why is this happening? Lets look at the big picture. Let's look at the entire plate itself and at the forces which are possibly affecting it. Now the reason I brought up the discussion below:

(The issue as far as I am concerned is an environmental one. For example, within the tectonic plates there are naturally occurring cavities which have liquids (oil) in them. Let's say that these liquids (oil) are very important to the stability of the tectonic plates by reason of centrifugal forces caused by the spinning of the earth which in turn cause the tectonic plates to lift and separate much like a balloon partly filled with water as you stretch out your arm while you are spinning.

As you are spinning, the tendency is for the water to move to the outer portion of the balloon are caused by centrifugal forces. So, If you remove this liquid (oil) from the cavities of the tectonic plates,the tendencies for the tectonic plates are to compress and fall in on each other in my opinion.

So this is more of an economic vs environmental issue.)

I have encountered areas in my field where certain analogies may apply:

For example in some cases roads are constructed over swamps and when these roads are constructed a light material(saw dust) is introduced with gravel so that the road can actually float on the swamp.

Now a possible reason why the tectonic plates float on the magma could be #1: the surface area and #2 a light substance within the cavities of the tectonic plates being oil. I think centrifugal forces are also involved to what degree I am not sure. Now if you remove the light material then the tendencies for the heavier material is to sink. Therefore, that is why in my opinion that some portions of the tectonic plates are destabilizing and to some degree collapsing under it's own weight just as a road over a swamp will no longer float if the saw dust is removed which in turn can possible displace some of the magma within the mantle causing a build up of pressure within volcanoes. Which in turn could cause mass redistribution within the tectonic plates themselves and possible a shift in the axis of the earth also.

Another analogy I would like to make is that within the human every part has a specific purpose. As an analogy could not the earth be this way also and every part is important to it's overall function.

Thanks for listening, please feel free to poke holes in my ideas.

By anon77771 — On Apr 15, 2010

Well the earthquake in Haiti is nothing compared to the one that happened in Chile. Lets just say this Haiti didn't have great economic conditions then and definitely not now so that's one reason why it created such a big problem.

By anon77471 — On Apr 14, 2010

what about the haiti earthquake?

By anon77466 — On Apr 14, 2010

Imagine that if we remove the liquid used from the Taipei tower which it the same we remove the oil from the earth. Are you agree?

By anon77458 — On Apr 14, 2010

Question 1: How high on the Richter scale does an earthquake have to be to destroy a house?

Question 2: How high on the Richter scale would an earthquake have to be to destroy the earth?

Please tell me?

By anon77361 — On Apr 14, 2010

earthquakes are just natural wonders of the earth. we've had them for thousands of years (i think) so why blame God for all of this?

God created us. God is almighty and He will be able to end life and mankind when He knows it is the right time. And there are some things in this world that we will never know about so why bother trying to find out about them?

OK so maybe some things that we have found out have helped us in a lot of ways (can't think of any now but yeah). Earthquakes might be helping us for all you know. Plates are always moving so you can't blame anyone for earthquakes.

We are destroying the world though, with too much pollution and greenhouse gases. We are killing our homes as well as other animals. Don't some people care? (I'm not talking to the people that are reading this. I'm talking to the people that are pouring waste into the sea right at this moment, or people riding their cars for no reason at all).

Just doing a tiny thing like buying something that is from bristol or somewhere in england could be saving a lot of money and less carbon will be let out into the world (i mean if you bought something from brazil then that will have to be brought by plane which is wasting money and making the planet die a little more).

Everyone should do their bit to help save the planet. If everyone did help in the beginning then we wouldn't be in this mess right now but as they say, better late then never.

By anon77215 — On Apr 13, 2010

Addendum to my recent post. A simple household experiment will show how earthquakes happen:

Take two pieces of coarse sandpaper and lay them back-to-back (smooth sides touching) on a flat surface. Put a weighty object on top and, while holding the bottom piece pull the top piece slowly. The two pieces will slide smoothly.

Now, turn each piece over so that the coarse surfaces are touching and try the same experiment. You will notice that as you pull harder and harder, the sandpaper will not slide smoothly, but at some point will "jerk" abruptly.

That is why earthquakes happen in certain areas. The Earth's plates are trying to move constantly but there are places where the boundaries between the plates are not smooth. The pressure builds up at those points until something "gives" and the built up energy releases all at once.

By anon77205 — On Apr 13, 2010

What a bunch of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo!

"within the tectonic plates there are naturally occurring cavities which have liquids (oil) in them." and "the tendency is for the water to move to the outer portion of the balloon are caused by centrifugal forces"

Don't they teach science in school anymore? As compared to the force of gravity, the centrifugal force of the Earth spinning is miniscule. The idea that pumping oil, water or any other liquid out of the ground will cause earthquakes is inane. Methinks you have watched one too many James Bond movies!

By anon77057 — On Apr 13, 2010

i was really felt hurt about these things. suddenly many people had lost their lives because of this tragedy. i just don't understand that even those who have not affected are arguing about it. it's just a matter of controversy as long as everyone knows the essence of helping each other and especially the opinion of an individual there would be no problem at all.

By anon76302 — On Apr 09, 2010

i don't speak english so good because i am from portugal. i heard that in mexico there was a 10.0 earthquake so many years ago.

By anon76248 — On Apr 09, 2010

The issue as far as I am concerned is an environmental one. For example, within the tectonic plates there are naturally occurring cavities which have liquids (oil) in them. Let's say that these liquids (oil) are very important to the stability of the tectonic plates by reason of centrifugal forces caused by the spinning of the earth which in turn cause the tectonic plates to lift and separate much like a ballon partly filled with water as you stretch out your arm while you are spinning.

As you are spinning, the tendency is for the water to move to the outer portion of the balloon are caused by centrifugal forces. So, If you remove this liquid (oil) from the cavities of the tectonic plates,the tendencies for the tectonic plates are to compress and fall in on each other in my opinion.

So this is more of an economic vs environmental issue.

By anon75822 — On Apr 07, 2010

You never know. 2012 may just become fact.

By anon75510 — On Apr 06, 2010

After all the earthquakes that have been going on back to back since the beginning of this year, yes I do admit it is of concern to me.

However, like someone else here commented and clearly put, natural disasters are part of life. They're frightening yes, because we can't control them, but knowing that we can do something about protecting ourselves and being aware of it all makes me feel all the more better.

I live in Southern California, where earthquakes are known to happen and have been going on for years. But instead of worrying that any moment the 'big one' could happen, I'd rather just educate myself on knowing what I can do to in case of an emergency in case of anything.

I, for one, am just thankful for being alive and well, as well as my loved ones. Worrying on a moment by moment basis won't stop an accident or disaster from happening. All we can do is just prepare ourselves emotionally and mentally, and in case of any emergency, be ready to stay calm in order to do the right thing.

Life is too short to be worrying about anything. Seriously.

By anon75108 — On Apr 05, 2010

My friends and fellow earth sharing inhabitants. 2012 is just the end of a Mayan cycle -- that's it. Look forward to the new beginning of our future. Many good will come after 2012, we are becoming one, and when we are one we tend to take care of each other.

By anon75090 — On Apr 05, 2010

For post 62: Why should it be anyone's responsibility besides your own to help your people? Why don't you work for hollywood? That way you can help whoever you want! Don't beg. Yeah, horrible things happen, and there are lots of people who help all sorts of people. The people from my company donated $40,000 to haiti and that was just the employees that built a lot of homes, I'm sure.

Be thankful for whatever you have. Don't look at what others have and wish they could help you. Pray about it. That's who you should be talking to.

By anon73288 — On Mar 26, 2010

What just happened to my country is terrible. Winter is coming and thousands of people lost their houses, schools, everything. This was the fifth biggest earthquake ever. people should help.

I just can't believe that these hollywood people can spend millions of dollars going shopping! These are the people that should help: the actors who get millions of dollars per movie should do something as they can spend that money in crap.

They could help somebody to have a house.

winter is coming and i can't see my people suffering anymore.

Three hours ago, another earthqauke just happened another earthquake in the north of Chile. What are you watching on tv? while people are pleasantly eating in their houses, other people are suffering and dying.

By anon73285 — On Mar 26, 2010

well it helped us in science a lot.

9.5 wow. Lookersineartquake

By anon72787 — On Mar 24, 2010

why do plates grow together like a fingernail? is it because they're far away?

your friend, emma i. Nine years old, project for school.

By anon70822 — On Mar 16, 2010

If we go around living our lives in fear of a major earthquake or any other disaster, natural or man made. We have already to some degree perished already. There is no future in the past and tomorrow is out of sight. Live for today. don't worry, be happy!

By anon70402 — On Mar 14, 2010

Oh, how creative people can actually be. How many theories about earth, 2012 and God. Earthquakes are not produced by the way we are treating earth or by any religious act. let's think for a moment how small we are in this great planet. Earthquakes have happened in the past and will happen in the future, it's a fact.

2012 will be a normal year, the world will not end because it has been written or said by anyone, come on. Let´s open up our minds just a little bit.

I was in Santiago for last month's earthquake and those were the worst seconds of my life. Smaller movements happen all the time and are quite fast, but this one was very violent and seemed to never stop. I had plenty of time to think I was going to die because you really believe the building is falling down (mainly when you are in a higher floor, like me in the 14th). Lucky it stopped, and it's just amazing to see the buildings and everything standing.

Chile has learned by past experience (1960) that such events can happen and buildings are or should be prepared -- and they proved to be.

The challenge now is to bring this technology to all big cities where is known big earthquakes can happen, pre-act before it comes rather than be sorry later.

These are the most killing events, so we should think about that. Governments should think about that and make real plans and be really prepared for when it happens. Many lives could be saved.

Well, hope they at least calm down for a while and give some peace to the people who just faced this disaster and lost their families, homes; this is really sad.

You know, in times like this we see disaster but we also see how people can be kind and help each other. If we stop thinking only about our life and understand we are all connected somehow, things would be so much different.

Anyway, these are natural events and not God´s anger. I believe we should worry more about people killing people. This is the worst about our civilization -- how people can be mean and cold. A cleverly mean mind can kill more people than an earthquake. just think about the nazis.

The world can end at anytime, everyone's world. We don't know how much time we have, this is the only true thing we know: we will die someday. So, let's live life and stop worrying or thinking about the end of the world!

Hope you all have a wonderful week! bye

By anon69226 — On Mar 07, 2010

God created earth and if disaster happens let it be. When Jesus comes for his people and me, i will not be here when 2012 will happen. --Pastor Jose

By anon69142 — On Mar 06, 2010

To anon68390 who said god is a creep: it's because of people like you that god has lost faith in man kind. God is almighty and if he created this world he can destroy it.

Earthquakes are scientifically explained -- read a book.

Back to the matter at hand: we are destroying the world, people. We need to take care of our planet and like anon68142 said may god bless us in good times and bad times. Mex/U.S

By anon69082 — On Mar 06, 2010

The most recent mega earthquakes of Haiti and Chile are fulfilling Bible prophecy before our eyes, but nobody in this generation actually reads their Bible so they don't know!

Jesus said before the great end time tribulation period on Earth due to the wickedness of mankind -- unless the days be shortened, no flesh would be spared.

It is now a shown fact that these recent mega quakes are shortening our days. Japan, Taiwan, Haiti, Chile all had mega quakes in the span of a week! Wake up, people! Sound the alarm! Jesus is coming soon, whether you like it or not.

I am just amazed at how accurately the Bible predicts the last days. God doesn't cause human suffering or calamity, sin does. The sinner does. It's human choice to destroy other people as well as planet Earth.

By anon68569 — On Mar 03, 2010

From karma to God, 2012 and everything between. Do some of these people feel like they need to post these comments online because when they say them aloud to people they laugh at them?

By anon68515 — On Mar 02, 2010

a 13.5 earthquake would probably make the earth split in two! imagine that.

By anon68483 — On Mar 02, 2010

anon68390: how dare you? Have some respect.

By anon68453 — On Mar 02, 2010

the chile earthquake in 2010 i think was the second biggest ever. it was huge.

By anon68450 — On Mar 02, 2010

Thanks to the extensive records of the United States Geological Service (USGS), it is quite easy to learn about the biggest earthquake ever recorded, which occurred near Santiago, Chile, in 1960.

Known as the Great Chilean Earthquake, the quake measured an impressive 9.5 on the Richter scale. The death toll of the Great Chilean Earthquake is not known, but estimates go as high as 6,000, and the earthquake may have caused as much as

$800 billion US Dollars in damage.

It is highly probable that some ancient earthquakes were of a higher magnitude, but because the Richter scale was not developed until the 1930s, it is difficult to quantitatively compare them. For example, the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 was by all accounts quite severe, and it generated a massive tsunami which only magnified the death toll, and the Shaanxi Earthquake which occurred in China in the 1500s was the deadliest known to history, killing almost one million people.

The Shaanxi Earthquake may also have been the biggest earthquake known to man, but there is simply no way to tell.

In terms of earthquakes which were studied, measured, and recorded on the Richter Scale, however, the Great Chilean Earthquake was far and away the biggest earthquake ever.

Keeping in mind that the Richter Scale runs along an exponential progression, the next largest earthquake was a 1964 temblor in Prince William Sound, Alaska, which measured 9.2. The 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake is the next biggest earthquake ever recorded, clocking in at 9.1 on the Richter Scale and generating a formidable tsunami which damaged much of the coastline of Southeast Asia.

The risk of large earthquakes has become greatly increased since the Great Chilean Earthquake, thanks to increasing human population and the growth of megacities, and it wouldn't take the biggest earthquake ever recorded to create the most lethal earthquake ever recorded.

Many huge cities happen to be located in seismically active areas, and an earthquake of major size in any of these regions could be devastating. Because earthquakes cannot be predicted or controlled, seismologists have warned communities, suggesting that they need to develop clear action plans for major quakes, as much of the damage and loss of life associated with earthquakes is caused by poor infrastructure.

Because an earthquake above the magnitude of 10.0 has never been recorded, researchers are not exactly sure what such an earthquake might feel like, although one may have occurred at some point in human history.

The energy involved in a 10.0 would be equivalent to a teraton of TNT; a 12.0 would equal the daily amount of energy the Earth receives from the Sun, undoubtedly causing horrific loss of life and damage.

By anon68404 — On Mar 02, 2010

This is our planet, accept it. It has it's own mechanisms. Earthquakes are natural occurring events. They are the result of earth's crust moving. This has happened for billions of years and will continue to do so even after you and me and possibly the entire human race will be long gone.

By anon68390 — On Mar 02, 2010

If a catastrophe is a big reminder from God than he's a creep and should be in hell along with the people who think other people deserve natural disasters.

By anon68293 — On Mar 01, 2010

what a bunch of weirdness -- especially the one about the USA trying to control the weather. Jeez.

By anon68142 — On Mar 01, 2010

2012 is only a science fiction, made by the western civilization and not by the mayans. if you believe in god you will laugh in all of this. all of this catastrophe is a big reminder from God, on how we forget him. instead of God first, before anything else, we do other things before God. God bless.

By anon68051 — On Feb 28, 2010

a correction: santiago is 841 kms away from valdivia, so it isn't precisely near.

By anon68027 — On Feb 28, 2010

I was there when the tsunami affected the area in 2004 and now in Santiago in 2010. Luckily saved from both the calamities, thank God.

But this one, day before yesterday I felt for a minute I lost my life. I was working late night in office and all of a sudden it started.

I guessed it would be a normal earthquake, which happens very frequently. But then the tremble was shaking our building like anything.

I couldn't stand on my legs. I

was falling down to both directions. At last it was over but I was shivering for another 10 minutes.

By anon67961 — On Feb 28, 2010

To this day, the great Lisbon quake of 1755 affects the daily lives of Portuguese citizens, as well as the rest of Europe because it dramatically changed the course of rivers, accessible passes through the mountains, the outline of the western coast of the country, etc., all of which changed the way people lived in the region.

So basically that quake changed the course of history for millions of people and it continues to do so today.

By anon67944 — On Feb 27, 2010

the U.S.A. is trying to control the weather. That's why things like this are happening. Once they control the weather, they can obviously control the world. It sounds far-fetched, but so did Nine Eleven and then we found out the truth, and found out what really happened.

By anon67918 — On Feb 27, 2010

that is stupid about 2012 because nobody knows what will happen in 2012 and if it happens, it's nature


By anon67909 — On Feb 27, 2010

It is disheartening to see that people could make fun or try to push their ideals through a natural disaster like an earthquake!

Is the life of one man less precious thank your loved one?

Under an article like this, where scientific facts are being discussed, keep your discussions to science.

Science of earthquakes says, since the core of the earth is highly volatile, it is not just the pressure between the tectonic plates that cause the earth to quake, but the pressure from under has effect as well. Not to mention the vast area over which energy from beneath can get dispersed. There are simple too many variables to accurately predict an earthquake!

But that never stops scientists from trying. That is science!

By anon67883 — On Feb 27, 2010

a 12.0 quake is calculated as the level at which the earth would split the earth in half. Horrific loss of life and damage yes, i guess. more accurate would be to say that the earth would be split in half and there would be not life left.

By anon67876 — On Feb 27, 2010

The word ''magnitude'' freaks me out.

By the way, i believe in 2012! Because first its haiti, then chile, then hawaii, then indonesia, what's next?

I think it's because 2012 is near.

By anon65434 — On Feb 13, 2010

Since the earth is proven scientifically to be flat, earthquakes occur when meteors hit the backside of the earth, causing a ripple effect in the planet. Much like if you hold a piece of paper flat and hit it from the bottom. Do not try and argue with me. I am right.

By anon60538 — On Jan 14, 2010

If we look at the analysis of the hypothesis of the inverted data represented here, we can conclude that the central issues enveloped are not necessarily those exposed. Poopy.

The eruption of a volcano cannot be explained by the tectonic expulsion of energy and conversely, the presence of a measuring system cannot discount the historical accounts of the masses. What I just wrote made no sense just like the drivel some also wrote didn't.

The Chilean earthquake is the most powerful ever recorded. Just read the article, a question is being answered.

By anon60369 — On Jan 13, 2010

Loss of life in an earthquake is devastating.

By anon57811 — On Dec 27, 2009

What? earthquakes are caused by karma? What is it, 100 bad deeds = 1 point on the Richter scale? Go back to school kid.

By anon54195 — On Nov 28, 2009

When humanity gives only negative things out to the earth the only way it can give them back their negative karma/actions is through earthquakes and natural disasters

Therefore earthquakes are caused through the negative actions of humanity no other reason.

By anon51347 — On Nov 05, 2009

Earthquakes are supposed to be due to plate tectonics and subduction. But why is it that they strike specifically at only one point and not all the way along the plate? By rights, all points along the plate should experience earthquakes if two plates strike each other. Something must be wrong with the plate tectonics theory and that is why we cannot predict earthquakes!

By anon44541 — On Sep 08, 2009

There are no such things as earthquakes! they are make believe scams!

By anon38162 — On Jul 24, 2009

So what is the earth doing expanding or contracting to cause these shift in the continental plates? Since this a thermal react to the core,is there any external events to the earth that could trigger these quakes?

By anon37925 — On Jul 22, 2009

The 64 anchorage quake was impressive: all the water in the harbor disappeared before a 100 ft tidal wave came in

By anon37921 — On Jul 22, 2009

Like the article said, there probably were larger quakes in the past, but without the Richter scale to put numbers on them (quantitatively compare), you can't really tell how strong they were. Scientists depend on measurements of energy to assign the numbers for the strength of an earthquake, unlike the way they evaluate the size of a tornado. The Fujita scale for tornadoes is based on damage, and if the Richter scale were like that, you could compare ancient earthquakes and modern ones.

By anon37861 — On Jul 22, 2009

I wonder.I thought the Lisbon earth quick was the greatest earth quake ever recorded in the history.Please explain more about this?


By anon37859 — On Jul 22, 2009

What about the great earthquake just north of Crete in 1491BC +/-...didn't Plato write about it? And didn't the Santorini volcano on the island of Thera erupt at the same time? I believe that one was felt as far south as Egypt.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

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