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EQ Facts & Lists


Earthquake Lists

 

Most Destructive Known Earthquakes on Record in the World
Earthquakes with 50,000 or More Deaths

Listed in order of greatest number of deaths

Date Location Deaths Magnitude Comments
January 23, 1556 China, Shansi 830,000 ~8  
December 26, 2004 Sumatra 283,106 9.0 Deaths from earthquake and tsunami.
July 27, 1976 China, Tangshan 255,000
(official)
7.5 Estimated death toll as high as 655,000.
August 9, 1138 Syria, Aleppo 230,000    
May 22, 1927 China, near Xining 200,000 7.9 Large fractures.
December 22, 856+ Iran, Damghan 200,000    
December 16, 1920 China, Gansu 200,000 8.6 Major fractures, landslides.
March 23, 893+ Iran, Ardabil 150,000    
September 1, 1923 Japan, Kanto
(Kwanto)
143,000 7.9 Great Tokyo fire.
October 5, 1948 USSR
(Turkmenistan, Ashgabat)
110,000 7.3  
December 28, 1908 Italy, Messina 70,000 to 100,000
(estimated)
7.2 Deaths from earthquake and tsunami.
September, 1290 China, Chihli 100,000    
November, 1667 Caucasia, Shemakha 80,000    
November 18, 1727 Iran, Tabriz 77,000    
November 1, 1755 Portugal, Lisbon 70,000 8.7 Great tsunami.
December 25, 1932 China, Gansu 70,000 7.6  
May 31, 1970 Peru 66,000 7.9 $530,000 damage, great rock slide, floods.
1268 Asia Minor, Silicia 60,000    
January 11, 1693 Italy, Sicily 60,000    
May 30, 1935 Pakistan, Quetta 30,000 to 60,000 7.5 Quetta almost completely destroyed.
February 4, 1783 Italy, Calabria 50,000    
June 20, 1990 Iran 50,000 7.7 Landslides.

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

NOTE: Some sources list an earthquake that killed 300,00 people in Calcutta, India, on October 11, 1737.
Recent studies indicate that these casualties were most likely due to a cyclone, not an earthquake.
(Source: The 1737 Calcutta Earthquake and Cyclone Evaluated by Roger Bilham, BSSA, Vol. 84, No. 5, 1650-1657, October 1994)

Data compiled from several sources.

See also:

 

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