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Earthquakes


This project is for those who have died in or as a result of an Earthquake.


Add Geni profiles for anyone who died in an earthquake to this project. You might consider making a project for a specific location & date for an Earthquake, if you have profiles for it. Then be sure to "relate" that project to this one, and also to the Natural Disasters portal. You may also want to create a related project for Survivors of that quake ... or of anyone known to have survived an earthquake.



Also Known as: Quake, Tremor, Temblor


An earthquake is the perceptible shaking of the surface of the Earth, which can range in severity from barely felt to violent enough to toss people around, to destroying major buildings and whole cities and killing thousands of people. They result from the sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time.

Effects of earthquakes & collateral effects

The effects of earthquakes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Shaking and ground rupture
  • Landslides and avalanches
  • Fires
  • Soil liquefaction
  • Tsunami
  • Floods
  • Human impacts – injuries & death
  • Damage to man-made structures
  • Spill of hazardous chemicals
  • Radioactivity from damaged nuclear power plants

Major earthquakes

From: Famous Earthquakes

These are some of history's most notable — and devastating — earthquakes.

  • Port Royal, Jamaica - 1692
  • San Francisco, California: April 18, 1906 (Magnitude: About 8)
    • In response to growing forces on the Pacific and North American tectonic plates, a horizontal slip amounting to several yards occurred suddenly at 5:12 A.M. local time on the San Andreas Fault for a distance of more than 248 miles (400 kilometers). It went through the city and far outside it, down to a depth of about 6 miles (10 kilometers). This was one of the rare earthquakes in which the fault slip was easily visible at the Earth's surface. Brick buildings in the city collapsed. Even though most of the wooden frame buildings survived the strong shaking, they did not survive the fires that burned for days over several hundred city blocks. The fires caused most of the death toll — about 500 people. See the project The Great Earthquake San Francisco 1906
  • Tokyo, Japan: September 1, 1923 (Magnitude: About 8.25)
    • In the years following the San Francisco disaster, a young Japanese seismologist tried to persuade his older colleagues that Tokyo should be prepared for another earthquake like the one in 1703 that had been very destructive. His warnings were not heeded, and in 1923 a great earthquake caused extensive damage in Yokohama and Tokyo by direct shaking and by fires. About 140,000 people died.
  • Chile: May 22, 1960 (Magnitude: About 9)
    • Forces pushing the Pacific and the South American tectonic plates together caused a fault slip of about 66 feet on a fault surface that was so large — more than 620 miles long and about 124 miles wide — that we associate this earthquake with an entire country. This was one of the two largest earthquakes, in terms of seismic moment, in a century. At the time, there were few instruments operating that could measure very long surface waves. But from the available records, it was apparent for days after this earthquake that the shock made the whole Earth ring like a gigantic bell.
  • Anchorage, Alaska: March 27, 1964 (Magnitude: About 8.5)
    • Growing forces pushing the Pacific and the North American tectonic plates toward each other caused the Pacific plate to slip about 42 feet at an angle beneath Alaska and beneath the seafloor just south of the port of Anchorage, which was destroyed. Seismometers that detect surface waves around the world were knocked off scale for hours. When recording resumed, they were measuring surface waves that continued to go around the Earth for several days, again as if the whole Earth were ringing and at exactly the same frequencies as the great Chilean earthquake nearly 4 years earlier. Large amounts of water were almost immediately moved up or down several yards because the main fault surface that broke was beneath the ocean floor. This seafloor motion caused a tsunami, or water wave, that traveled all over the Pacific Ocean, causing further damage, even killing people on a beach in California.
  • Tangshan, China: July 27, 1976 (Magnitude: About 7.5)
    • A devastating earthquake occurred in eastern China, about 100 miles from Beijing in a coal-mining area where thousands of people worked underground day and night. In the densely populated town of Tangshan, buildings were constructed with heavy masonry but with no special precautions to withstand earthquake shaking. About 240,000 people died. In this part of the world, the boundary between tectonic plates is not clearly defined. Rather, it appears as if a region millions of square miles in extent is deforming, or changing shape, not by a steady process but by earthquakes.
  • Sumatra, Indonesia, Dec. 26, 2004. (Magnitude: About 9.0)
    • A 9.0 magnitude earthquake — the largest earthquake in 40 years — caused a powerful tsunami in the Indian Ocean that devastated 12 Asian countries. The earthquake's epicenter was off the west coast of the Indonesian Island of Sumatra. A week later the death toll was estimated at 150,000 — a month later some estimate double that number. Hardest hit were Indonesia (particularly the province of Aceh), Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and the Maldives. Millions of people lost their homes. Since entire families and towns were destroyed and bodies were swept out to sea, it's possible we will never know the total number lives lost.
  • Offshore Maule, Chile, 2010. (Magnitude: 8.8)
    • Just last year, at least 500 people were killed and 800,000 were displaced by the earthquake and tsunami that hit central Chile. More than 1.8 million people were affected and the total economic loss was estimated at $30 billion USD. Central Chile is still feeling aftershocks to this day. The earthquake took place along the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates.
    • The quake hit just over a month after the disastrous magnitude 7.0 quake in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, which killed more than 200,000 people.
  • Near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan, 2011. (Magnitude 9.0)
    • On March 11, a magnitude 9.0 quake triggered a tsunami that killed an estimated 29,000 people and damaged some nuclear reactors. This earthquake is the largest ever recorded in Japan. Aftershocks continue to rock the island of Honshu. The aftershocks include more than 50 of magnitude 6.0 or greater, and three above magnitude 7.0. The quake was caused by thrust faulting near the Japan Trench, the boundary between the Pacific and North America tectonic plates. Thrust faulting happens when one tectonic plate dives under another. In this case, the Pacific plate is diving under the North America plate.

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