Today we take a look at 11 biggest earthquakes around the world. These are some of the worst killers in human history. Five of them are listed among ten worst natural disasters ever by number of casualties. Some areas are more prone to them than others due to their geological features. You can find out which on our list of 11 countries with most earthquakes.
Throughout history, people have been exposed to the devastating forces of earthquakes. Only in the last hundred years or so have we managed to develop technology that would limit the destructive force earthquakes unleash upon us by creating buildings that are able to stand up to them. But even then, they manage to inflict catastrophic damage through indirect means. The best example is 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and Fukushima disaster. The nuclear power plant withstood magnitude 9.0 earthquake with only minor damage, only to have its emergency generators that provided power for reactor cooling system disabled by ensuing tsunami. The resulting core meltdowns represent one of the worst nuclear disasters in our history. Even though the plant itself was built to withstand an earthquake, even the one as powerful as Tōhoku earthquake has been, the damage was done nevertheless.
Not everyone can afford earthquake resistant buildings. This is best illustrated by a comparison of two earthquakes that happened in 2010, in Haiti and Chile. Haiti capital Port-au-Prince was left almost completely destroyed, with a death toll estimated to be 160,000. Chilean earthquake, on the other hand, was 500 times stronger (magnitude 7 for Haiti to 8.9 for Chile). 550 people were killed. While some of the massive difference in death count can be explained by the geological characteristics, the main reasons that Chile did so well compared to Haiti are manmade. Strict building regulations, emergency response and experience are the factors that helped Chile survive one of the biggest earthquakes in history. Much smaller quake left Haiti in ruins and killed 15% of its population.
Let’s see what other countries have suffered from 11 biggest earthquakes around the world by human casualties.