Santiago (AFP) Feb 27, 2010
The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that slammed central Chile on Saturday is among the top 10 strongest on record, according to data from the US Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes around the world.
Eighteen of the top 20 most powerful earthquakes, including the strongest, struck in a zone of volcanic instability that encircles the Pacific Ocean known as the "Ring of Fire."
The "Ring" stretches along the western coast of the Americas through the island nations of the South Pacific and on through Southeast Asia.
Half of the top 20 strongest earthquakes struck the Pacific coast of the Americas, and six of those -- including four in Chile -- struck south America.
The most powerful earthquake ever, a magnitude 9.5 whopper, struck Chile on May 22, 1960 not far from the epicenter of Saturday's earthquake.
The 1960 quake, known as the Valdivia quake, killed 1,655 people, injured 3,000 and left two million homeless. It triggered a tsunami that killed 61 people in Hawaii, 138 in Japan and 32 in the Philippines.
The top 20 earthquakes, according to the USGS and not counting Saturday's are:
- May 22, 1960 - south-central Chile - magnitude 9.5
- March 28, 1964 - Prince William Sound, Alaska - magnitude 9.2
- December 26, 2004 - Sumatra-Andaman Islands - magnitude 9.1
- November 4, 1952 - Kamchatka peninsula, former Soviet Union - magnitude 9.0
- August 13, 1868 - Arica, Peru (now Chile) - magnitude 9.0
- January 26, 1700 - Cascadia Subduction Zone (north-western US coast/southern British Columbia, Canada) - magnitude 9.0
- January 31, 1906 - Off the Coast of Esmeraldas, Ecuador - magnitude 8.8
- February 4, 1965 - Rat Islands, Alaska - magnitude 8.7
- November 1, 1755 - Lisbon, Portugal - magnitude 8.7
- July 8, 1730 - Valparasio, Chile - magnitude 8.7
- March 28, 2005 - Northern Sumatra, Indonesia - magnitude 8.6
- March 9, 1957 - Andreanof Islands, Alaska - magnitude 8.6
- August 15, 1950 - Assam - Tibet - magnitude 8.6
- September 12, 2007 - Southern Sumatra, Indonesia - magnitude 8.5
- October 13, 1963 - Kuril Islands, former Soviet Union - magnitude 8.5
- February 1, 1938 - Banda Sea, Indonesia - magnitude 8.5
- February 3, 1923 - Kamchatka peninsula - magnitude 8.5
- November 11, 1922 - Chile-Argentina Border - magnitude 8.5
- June 15, 1896 - Sanriku, Japan - magnitude 8.5
- October 20, 1687 - Lima, Peru - magnitude 8.5
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After Haiti, Nepal braces for big quake
Kathmandu (AFP) Feb 10, 2010
As Haiti counts the cost of last month's devastating earthquake, experts are warning of the potential for an even greater disaster in another of the world's poorest countries, Nepal. Geologists say it is only a matter of time before a major earthquake hits Nepal's densely populated capital Kathmandu, where 2.5 million people live in cramped, poorly-built housing with little or no awareness o ... read more
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