If you are reading this post, you probably wonder what are the ten deadliest earthquake in US history.
So here you go!
1. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake
The deadliest earthquake in U.S. history is the M7.9 1906 San Francisco earthquake that hit the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, killing more than 3,000 people.
More than 80% of San Francisco was destroyed. This photo, taken several months after the earthquake, shows the devastation, including the ruins of City Hall.
2. 1946 Aleutian Islands Earthquake (Unimak Island) in Alaska
In 1946, the M8.6 earthquake on Unimak Island in Alaska occurred on April 1 and triggered a gigantic 55 feet high tsunami, travelling at 500 miles an hour across the Pacific Ocean.
The giant wave reached Kauai, and Hilo, Hawaii, 4.5 hours and 4.9 hours later, respectively, where 173 were killed, 163 injured, and more than 1,500 buildings were heavily damaged to destroyed. 5 others were killed in Alaska and 1 in California.
In the below photo, a man (see arrow) is about to be killed by the wave in Hilo, Hawaii.
The tsunami is known as the April Fools’ Day Tsunami in Hawaii because it happened on April 1 and many thought it to be an April Fool’s Day prank.
3. 1964 Alaska Earthquake
The M9.2 Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami occurred on March 27, 1964 at 5:36pm local time (March 28 at 3:36 UTC) in the Prince William Sound region of Alaska.
The Great Alaskan earthquake, which lasted approximately 4.5 minutes, is the most powerful recorded earthquake in U.S. history and the second largest ever recorded, next to the M9.5 earthquake in Chile in 1960.
During its 4.5 minutes of heavy shaking, the Good Friday earthquake caused the ground to shift vertically by as much as 50 feet in places, creating a destructive 130-acre landlide that resulted in a giant tsunami.
The huge wave – that reached 220 feet in some places – killed 128 people, including 11 people in Crescent City, California.
4. 1933 Long Beach Earthquake, California
The offshore M6.4 Long Beach Earthquake hit on March 10 at 5:54 P.M. PST on the Newport–Inglewood Fault, south of downtown Los Angeles.
Despite its lower magnitude, the quake killed about 115 people – mostly those running out of buildings and thus exposing themselves to the falling debris.
5. 1868 Hawaii earthquake
The 1868 Hawaii Earthquake hit at 4 p.m. local time on April 2, 1868.
The massive, sudden movement of the south flank of Hawaii’s Big Island triggered a magnitude 7.9 earthquake which resulted in a landslide and tsunami that killed 77 people.
The major quake was related to the activity of the two active volcanoes on Big Island, the Mauna Loa and Kīlauea. The aftershock sequence for this event has continued up to the present day.
It has been hypothesized that the magma pushing up from below the earth’s crust forced the side of the island to expand, sliding along the ocean crust and causing a major earthquake.
6. 1971 San Fernando Earthquake
The 1971 San Fernando earthquake occurred at 6 am on February 9 in a sparsely populated area of the San Gabriel Mountains in southern California.
The M6.5 earthquake, also known as the Sylmar earthquake, killed 65 people and injured 2,000.
Some of the most spectacular damage occurred at Olive View Hospital in Sylmar, California, where 49 people died despite its supposedly earthquake-resistant construction.
7. 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake
The M6.9 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake occurred on October 17 at 5:04 p.m. local time, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Santa Cruz on a section of the San Andreas Fault System.
The Loma Prieta segment of the San Andreas Fault System had been designated a seismic gap by USGS since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Then two moderate foreshocks occurred in June 1988 and again in August 1989.
The strong quake managed to kill 63 people and injure more than 3,750, most of them on a collapsed highway in Oakland.
8. 1960 Valdivia earthquake
The 1960 Valdivia earthquake occurred at 19:11 GMT (15:11 local time) on May 22, 1960 and is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded around the world.
The M9.4 Great Chilean earthquake lasted for approximately 10 minutes.
The powerful megathrust earthquake created huge tsunamis that affected southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia, and the Aleutian Islands. Can you imagine that?
The Terremoto de Valdivia killed around 1,600 people and left 2 million homeless in southern Chile.
The resulting tsunami killed 138 people in Japan and 61 people in Hawaii, making it one of the deadliest quakes in U.S. history despite happening on another continent.
9. 1994 Northridge Earthquake
The 1994 Northridge earthquake occurred on January 17, 1994, at 4:30 a.m. PST in the San Fernando Valley, California.
The M6.7 quake occurred on a previously undiscovered fault, now named the Northridge blind thrust fault (or Pico thrust fault).
The major disaster killed 60 people and injured about 8,700 in approximately 10–20 seconds, thus exposing major weaknesses in the building codes as many of the 60 victims died buried under collapsed buildings.
10. 1886 Charleston Earthquake, NC
The 1886 Charleston Earthquake occurred at 9:50 p.m. local time on August 31, 1886.
The M7.3 intraplate earthquake is one of the most powerful and damaging earthquakes to hit the East Coast of the United States, killing 60 people and damaging thousands of buildings.
More than 130 years later, the cause of this quake is still not well understood since very little to no historical earthquake activity had occurred in the same seismic area.
Now that you know the 10 deadliest earthquakes in US history, here are the most dangerous fault lines across the United States. More geology news on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle.