The Biggest Earthquake in the World ever Measured?

The sun is up. You get out of bed and you prepare your stuff for work. Nothing is unusual. You run through your mind all the things you have to do for the day, all the transactions, all the paper works, and the meeting you have with your boss that starts in a couple of hours. Seems like an ordinary day at the office again. But the truth is you never really know what is going to happen.

And just as you were about to start your presentation, the building starts to shake. The pens roll off the table. Coffee spills all over the table as the cups are turned over. Your boss falls off his chair. And everyone just starts screaming “EARTHQUAKE”. People start rushing out of the room stampeding to the nearest exit. Your ordinary day at the office has just turned into a nightmare in a matter of seconds.

Earthquakes come without warnings. They are just sudden tremors in the ground. And it’s a little difficult to predict earthquakes as to the magnitude, or the strength, of the earthquake. Every day, earthquakes occur all around the world. We just don’t know notice these tremors because they are not strong enough. This is why we think that earthquakes are rare. Well, the strong earthquakes are quite rare in many countries and cities. The strongest ones are even rarer. Then, what is the biggest earthquake in the world? What are the strongest earthquake with the highest magnitude and the one with the most damage?

The biggest earthquake in the world in term of its magnitude scale is the 1960 Chile earthquake. On May 22, 1960 an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.5 hit Valdivia and Puerto Montt in Chile killing an estimated 1,700 people including those by the tsunami in various places. The earthquake-induced tsunami killed 61 people in Hawaii, 32 in the Philippines, and 138 in Japan. Not to mention the millions of dollars worth of damages caused by the tsunami and the earthquake itself. Other than the tsunami, the 1960 Chile earthquake had foreshocks with magnitude of more than 7.0, aftershocks also exceeding 7.0, and a volcanic eruption of Volcan Puyehue. This makes it the biggest earthquake ever recorded in the world.

But the earthquake with the most damages happened recently. On December 26, 2004, during the Christmas season, an earthquake of magnitude 9.1 hit Indonesia, just off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra. This sent a tsunami to 12 countries killing 226,000 people. This has the biggest number of casualties.

Earthquakes can be damaging. It can take thousands of lives with it. And the big earthquakes can happen anytime and almost anywhere. But the difficulty in predicting earthquakes should not hinder us from preparing ourselves.

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