Science

Earthquakes: 10 Largest In History

By Matthew Klickstein , Apr 16, 2013 01:09 PM EDT
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As the natural world around us continues to shift — now more than ever, due largely to deleterious effects of mankind — we're seeing more and more disasters, be they hurricanes, global warming and terrible storms that all make it clear the Earth is not happy with us right now.

On March 26, a study was published concerning a series of large earthquakes that hit Oklahoma in November 2011, and it shows the earthquakes — including the largest ever recorded in the state — were caused by wastewater being injected into the ground after oil extraction.

LiveScience points out that this was not the first time wastewater being injected into the ground caused earthquakes, as the same thing occurred in Denver, Colo.

For those who are wondering about earthquakes throughout history that have had major effects on the world around us, LiveScience also compiled a list that details the 10 Largest Earthquakes in History:

10: Assam-Tibet  (1950, 8.6)

This quake killed 1,500 people, and the results left behind cracks in the ground, huge landslides and "sand volcanoes." Hundreds of people were killed when landslides blocked the area rivers in eastern Tibet and Assam, India, resulting in floods that destroyed nearby villages.

9: Northern Sumatra, Indonesia (2005, 8.6)

This quake that hit Nias, in northern Sumatra, Indonesia resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people. Hundreds more were injured. "The quake ruptured below the surface of the Indian Ocean, where the Indo-Australian Plate is pushing under the Eurasian plate at the Sunda trench, similar to the 2004 quake," LiveScience says.

8: Rat Islands, Alaska (1965, 8.7)

This quake was so great in magnitude that it produced a 30-foot tall tsunami that was reported as far away as Hawaii and Japan. There was luckily little damage reported, thanks to the earthquake being centralized at the tip of the Aleutian Islands.

7: Off the Coast of Ecuador (1906, 8.8)

This quake killed 500 to 1,500 people when this earthquake hit the coast of Ecuador and Colombia, producing another large tsunami. The tsunami even stretched as far as San Francisco and Japan.

6: Offshore Maule, Chile (2010, 8.8)

At least 500 people were killed and nearly one million were displaced by this humongous recent rocker that was, as always, followed by a huge tsunami. Central Chile is still feeling the pangs of this one, whose economic loss ran to $30 billion.

5: Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia (1952, 9.0)

The world's first recorded 9.0 magnitude earthquake produced a localized 43-foot tsunami and yet luckily caused no deaths and very little monetary damage.

4: Near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan (2011, 9.0)

This largest earthquake in Japan's recorded history killed nearly 30,000 people and damaged the area's nuclear reactors. Some of the aftershocks alone hit 7.0 magnitudes (and higher)

3: Off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra (2004, 9.1)

Nearly 230,000 people were either killed or turned up missing after this quake that also displaced 1.7 million people in 14 countries throughout Southeast Asia and East Africa. Though it's possible a Haiti quake in 2010 caused more deaths, it's said this one has the highest death toll to date.

2: Prince William Sound, Alaska (1964, 9.2)

This quake cost 128 lives and nearly $315 million in damages and the resulting tsunami caused heavy damage in many towns like Anchorage. The quake's rumbling lasted for approximately three minutes. Heavy damage also occurred from landslides.

1: Chile (1960, 9.5)

An estimated 1,655 people were killed during this, the largest earthquake ever recorded. Thousands more were injured and there was also $550 million in damage. "The quake triggered a tsunami that killed 61 people in Hawaii, 138 in Japan and 32 in the Philippines," LiveScience says.  

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