Our beautiful planet supports billions of humans and countless other living creatures, but sometimes it reminds us that it has a darker side too. Natural disasters, events that happen without much warning and leave disaster in their wake abound. While tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis are among the most destructive of these unpredictable events, this list focuses on earthquakes, highlighting just how destructive these disasters can be.
25. Valdivia Earthquake
The city of Valdivia in Chile experienced an earthquake that was, by far, higher on the Richter scale than any other quake. This earthquake measured in at a magnitude of 9.5 which equates to roughly 1,000 atom bombs detonating simultaneously in the same place. It claimed 6,000 lives and caused over $1 billion in damages.
24. Shaanxi Earthquake
The deadliest earthquake in human history took place in Shaanxi, China in 1556. The quake caused landslides, sinkholes, and devastated cities across a 520 mile radius. The death toll from this quake was recorded at 830,000, killing more than half the inhabitants of the quake zone. This quake came in at 8.0 on the Richter scale.
23. Sumatra Earthquake
Coming in close to the Valdivia quake, the Sumatra quake originated in Indonesia but sent several tsunamis careening toward all surrounding regions. Waves from this quake reached Thailand and the larger waves, by the end, had claimed 225,000 lives and caused more than $7 billion in damages.
22. Aleppo Earthquake
This earthquake hit Syria in 1138 and left multiple towns completely levelled. The death toll for this quake came to 230,000 and destroyed several churches and other historical sites.
21. Tangshan Earthquake
This earthquake hit China in 1976, killing over 250,000 people because the area was not earthquake-prone and therefore was not prepared for such a disaster. It came in as an 8.2 magnitude quake and caused $1.3 billion in damages.