some memorable earthquakes

Richter
magnitude
Moment
magnitude
Location Date
2.1   New York, NY 11 September 2001. Collapse of South Tower of the World Trade Center.¹
2.3   New York, NY  11 September 2001. Collapse of North Tower.
4.9   Korea 12 February 2013. Nuclear test in North Korea.
6.2   Long Beach, CA 10 March 1933
6.5   San Fernando, CA 9 February 1971
6.6   Charleston, SC 31 August 1886
6.8   Northridge, CA 1994
6.8   Kobe, Japan 17 January 1995
6.9   Armenia 7 December 1988
7.1   Loma Prieta, CA 17 October 1989
7.5   Kanto, Japan 1923
7.7   northwest Iran 21 June 1990
7.7   Luzon, Philippines 16 July 1990
7.9   90 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska
(Denali Fault)
3 November 2002
7.9   Tejon Pass, CA 9 January 1857
8.0–8.3
(est.)
  New Madrid, Missouri December 1811–
March 1812
8.3–8.6
(est.)
  Yakutat Bay, Alaska 1899
8.2   Tangshan, China 28 July 1976
7.7–8.25   San Francisco 18–9 April 1906
8.3   northern Bolivia 9 June 1994
8.75   Lisbon, Portugal 1 November 1755
9.0   Andaman-Nicobar Islands 26 December 2004
8.6   Andreanof Islands, Alaska 9 March 1957
8.5 9.2 Prince William Sound, Alaska 28 March 1964
  9.0 Japan 2011
  9.5 Chile 22 May 1960

1. Won-Young Kim, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University.

Most destructive earthquakes (50,000 deaths or more)

Date Location Deaths and Missing Est.
mag.
Comments
23 Jan. 1556 China, Shansi 830,000    
11 Oct. 1737 India, Calcutta 300,000    
27 July 1976 China, Tangshan 255,000¹ 8.0  
9 August 1138 Syria, Aleppo 230,000    
26 December 2004 Indian Ocean 229,866   Tsunami
22 May 1927 China, near Xining 200,000 8.3 Large fractures.
22 Dec. 856² Iran, Damghan 200,000    
16 Dec. 1920 China, Gansu 200,000 8.6 Major fractures, landslides
23 March 893² Iran, Ardabil 150,000    
Sept. 1, 1923 Japan, Kwanto 143,000 8.3 Great Tokyo fire.
Dec. 28, 1908 Italy, Messina 70,000 to 100,000 7.5 Deaths from earthquake and tsunami.
Sept. 1290 China, Chihli 100,000    
Nov. 1667 Caucasia, Shemakha 80,000    
18 Nov. 1727 Iran, Tabriz 77,000    
1 Nov. 1755 Portugal, Lisbon 70,000 8.7 Great tsunami.
25 Dec. 1932 China, Gansu 70,000 7.6  
31 May 1970 Peru 66,000 7.8 $530,000 damage, great rock slide, floods
1268 Asia Minor, Silicia 60,000    
11 Jan. 1693 Italy, Sicily 60,000    
30 May 1935 Pakistan, Quetta 30,000 to 60,000 7.5 Quetta almost completely destroyed
4 Feb. 1783 Italy, Calabria 50,000    
20 June 1990 Iran 50,000 7.7 Landslides.

1. Official casualty figure--estimated death toll as high as 655,000.

2. Note that these dates are prior to 1000 AD. No digit is missing.

Data compiled from several sources.

The ten largest earthquakes in the United States

  Mag Date Location
1. 9.2 March 28, 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska
2. 8.6 September 10, 1899 Yakutat Bay, Alaska
3. 8.5 March 9, 1957 Andreanof Islands, Alaska
4. 8.3 September 4, 1899 Yakutat Bay, Alaska
5. 8.3 October 9, 1900 Kodiak Island, Alaska
6. 8.3 June 2, 1903 Cape Providence, Alaska
7. 8.3 November 10, 1938 East of Shumagin Islands, Alaska
8. 8.25 April 18, 1906 San Francisco, California
9. 8.2 February 7, 1812 New Madrid, Missouri
10. 8.0 December 16, 1811 New Madrid, Missouri

The ten largest earthquakes in the contiguous United States

  Mag Date Location
1. 8.25 April 18, 1906 San Francisco, California
2. 8.2 February 7, 1812 New Madrid, Missouri
3. 8.0 December 16, 1811 New Madrid, Missouri (0815 UTC)
4. 7.9 January 9, 1857 Fort Tejon, California
5. 7.8 January 23, 1812 New Madrid, Missouri
6. 7.8 March 26, 1872 Owens Valley, California
 7. 7.8 October 3, 1915 Pleasant Valley, Nevada
 8. 7.8 July 21, 1952 Kern County, California
9. 7.7 August 31, 1886 Charleston, South Carolina
10. 7.6 December 16, 1811 New Madrid, Missouri (1415 UTC)

Note:

Opinions about the magnitudes of these earthquakes differ considerably. For example, some sources list the magnitude of the 8.6 Yakutat Bay earthquake as low as 8.0. On the other hand, some sources list the Fort Tejon quake as high as 8.3. Similar variations exist for nearly every event on this list (although generally not so large as for this event).

The two events of magnitude greater than 9.0 are recomputed values using the moment magnitude. For very large earthquakes, the moment magnitude is considered to be a more accurate determination that the traditional amplitude magnitude computation procedures. The magnitudes of the Prince William Sound earthquake and the Andreanof Islands earthquake were 8.6 and 8.1, respectively, using the amplitude magnitude procedures. Note that all of these values can be called “magnitudes on the Richter scale”, regardless of the method used to compute them.

# A fault 1,000 kilometers long slipped 10 meters.

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