14 Deadliest Earthquakes That Shook the World

Earthquakes are a terrifying force of nature that can strike without warning, causing widespread destruction and claiming countless lives.

As preppers, being prepared for such a catastrophic event is crucial to survive and protect our loved ones.

In this article, we will examine some of the deadliest earthquakes throughout history, from the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 to the catastrophic temblor that shook Port-au-Prince in 1902.

We will explore the impact of these disasters on the affected regions and how communities have recovered and rebuilt in the aftermath.

1. The Haiti Earthquake of 2010

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On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck near the capital of Haiti, leaving devastating and widespread damage.

With over 300,000 deaths and more than 300,000 injuries reported, this disaster was considered one of the deadliest earthquakes in modern history.

2. The Great Tangshan Earthquake of 1976

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A massive earthquake measuring 7.5 magnitude struck the city of Tangshan in China in the early morning of July 28, 1976.

With most people asleep in their homes and 85% of the buildings destroyed, the death toll from this disaster is estimated to be over 240,000 people, with over 160,000 injuries reported.

3. The Sumatra Earthquake of 2004

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The next earthquake we are looking at is the Sumatra Earthquake, which had a magnitude of 9.1-9.3 and occurred off the coast of Indonesia in the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean Earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that had waves reaching 100 feet and affected multiple countries, resulting in over 230,000 deaths and millions of people displaced from their homes.

4. The Great Peruvian Earthquake of 1970


The Great Peruvian Earthquake of 1970, also known as the Ancash earthquake, measured 7.9 and struck Peru on the afternoon of May 31st.

While the earthquake struck under the ocean, it still had a devastating impact on the fishing port Chimbote and the entire region, leaving an estimated 70,000 dead.

5. Sichuan Earthquake of 2008

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The Sichuan earthquake that occurred in the mountains of southwestern China on May 12, 2008, also known as the Great Wenchuan earthquake, was a deadly magnitude 7.9 that killed more than 90,000 people and left millions homeless.

Rescue efforts were hindered by aftershocks and landslides, making it one of the deadliest earthquakes in recent history.

6. The Kashmir Earthquake of 2005

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On October 8, 2005, a powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck the mountainous Kashmir region of Pakistan and India, claiming over 79,000 lives and leaving millions without homes or access to basic necessities and displaced for months.

The remote location of the earthquake-affected areas and landslides made it difficult for rescue efforts to reach those in need quickly.

7. The Shaanxi Earthquake of 1556

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Considered the deadliest earthquake in recorded history, the Shaanxi Earthquake of 1556 struck China’s Shaanxi Province on January 23, 1556.

Estimates suggest that the earthquake reached a magnitude of approximately 8.0 and killed over 830,000 people, possibly reducing the population by 60 percent.

After the earthquake’s devastation, numerous stone buildings in the area have been upgraded to structures made of earthquake-resistant materials.

8. The Gulang Earthquake of 1920

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On December 16, 1920, the Gulang Earthquake struck Gulang County along the Silk Road in China’s Gansu Province.

With an estimated magnitude of 8.6, the earthquake left approximately 40,000 people dead.

A landslide buried a town near the epicenter of Gulang, and a stream was dammed in Wuwei County, creating a new lake.

9. The Haiyuan Earthquake of 1920

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On December 13, 1920, the Haiyuan Earthquake struck Haiyuan County in northwestern China, causing landslides, mudflows, and fissures in the ground, destroying many buildings and homes.

With a magnitude of 8.6, this earthquake caused massive destruction and resulted in an estimated 235,000 deaths.

10. The Kanto Earthquake of 1923

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Just before noon on September 1, 1923, the Kanto Earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.9, hit Japan’s Tokyo and Yokohama areas.

The earthquake caused buildings to collapse, triggered fires, and a typhoon, leaving an estimated 142,800 people dead and 1.5 million homeless.

It also started social and political changes in the country as it revealed many flaws in disaster preparedness and response measures.

11. The Ashgabat Earthquake of 1948

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One of the deadliest and most violent earthquakes in history, the Ashgabat Earthquake, struck Turkmenistan U.S.S.R. on October 6, 1948. With a magnitude of 7.3, it caused severe damage to buildings and infrastructure and resulted in more than 40,000 deaths.

The city of Ashgabat was almost destroyed and had to be rebuilt from scratch, highlighting the importance of construction techniques in earthquake-prone areas.

12. The Messina Earthquake of 1908

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The Messina earthquake of 1908 occurred in southern Italy. At 7.1 magnitude, it was one of the most destructive earthquakes in European history.

It caused widespread devastation, with an estimated death toll of about 123,000 people and major cities destroyed.

13. The Quetta Earthquake of 1935

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In the early morning of May 31, 1935, the Quetta earthquake struck Balochistan in British India (now part of Pakistan) with a magnitude of 7.7.

While lasting only three minutes, the destruction was catastrophic, with an estimated death toll of over 30,000 people and many more injured or displaced.

14. The Manjil-Rudbar Earthquake of 1990

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The Manjil-Rudbar earthquake struck northern Iran on June 21, 1990, with a magnitude of 7.4.

It devastated the cities of Rudbar and Manjil, destroying over half a million homes with estimates of $8 billion in damages and causing an estimated death toll of over 40,000 people.

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