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Chile quake among Top 10 most powerful ever

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor.

If the preliminary magnitude of 8.8 stands, the Feb. 26 2010 earthquake off Chile would vault it into the Top 10 in recorded history.

It would tie for 7th on the list of greatest earthquakes ever recorded, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Chile was the site of the world’s largest magnitude temblor ever – a 9.5M in 1960. No. 5 on the list is a 9.0M that occurred in 1868 in the same area.

The two earthquakes that sit atop the list are ones with which most Hawaii residents will be familiar.

The May 22, 1960 Valdivia earthquake, also known as the Great Chilean Earthquake, rocked a 9.5 magnitude.

The resulting tsunami affected southern Chile, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia, the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, and Hawaii.

Localized tsunamis reached 82 feet (25 meters), but the main tsunami charged across the Pacific Ocean and hammered Hilo.

Waves as high as 35 feet (10.7) were recorded as far away as Japan and the Philippines. The death toll and monetary losses arising from such a widespread disaster can never be precisely known.

At least 61 lives were lost in Hilo, while the total cost in human lives ranged from 2,500 to 6,000.

At No. 2 on the list is the March 27,1964 Alaska earthquake, also known as the Great Alaska Earthquake and the Good Friday Earthquake.

The quake and tsunami killed 128, although none of the deaths occurred in Hawaii. Hilo and other shoreline areas, however, were damaged.

Top 10 Most Powerful Quakes (as of Feb. 25, 2010)

1. 1960 – Chile – M 9.5
2. 1964 – Prince William Sound, Alaska – M 9.2
3. 2004 – Sumatra-Andaman Islands – M 9.1
4. 1952 – Kamchatka – M 9.0
5. 1868 – Arica, Peru (now Chile) – M 9.0
6. 1700 – Cascadia Subduction Zone – M 9.0
7. 1906 – Off the Coast of Esmeraldas, Ecuador – M 8.8
8. 1965 – Rat Islands, Alaska – M 8.7
9. 1755 – Lisbon, Portugal – M 8.7
10. 1730 – Valparasio, Chile – M 8.7

The Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti was rated at magnitude 7.0 and does not even figure in the Top 100 most powerful quakes of all time.

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3 Responses to “Chile quake among Top 10 most powerful ever”

  1. mike says:

    Typo in paragraph 3, should read 1960, not 1965?

  2. Gabby says:

    Is there any news about la reigoin de bio bio ? Please if there’s anything please tell me , I have family there and there is no communication to them


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