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1960 Valdivia Earthquake | Biggest Earthquake in the world –

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Hello Gnees Army,

Good Morning,

Have you ever felt an earthquake? If yes, how powerful it was? In the Richter Scale, it Maybe 3, 4.5, 5.4, or maybe 7.0 magnitude! But ever you felt a 9.5 magnitude earthquake? Hmm, if you outside of South America, I’m pretty sure you may not feel that monster.

Today we will know about the biggest earthquake in the world ever – “The 1960 Valdivia Earthquake”. Let’s know the 1960 Valdivia Earthquake reason, the amount of damage, and how it occurred. So, here we go…

1960 Valdivia Earthquake
1960 Valdivia Earthquake

How the biggest earthquake in the world occurred?

The earthquake was a megathrust earthquake resulting from the release of mechanical stress between the subducting Nazca Plate and the South American Plate, on the Peru–Chile Trench. Subduction zones are known to produce the strongest earthquakes on earth, as their particular structure allows more stress to build up before energy is released.

However, On May 22, 1960, the stress built up by years of increasing compressional force between the two plates. The force of the sudden movement along a roughly 560–620-mile (900–1,000-km) stretch of the Nazca plate pushed part of the leading edge of the South American plate upward. Thus, it created one of the worst biggest earthquakes in the world.

Moreover, this sudden increase of the plate/rock created huge dangerous weaves towards the Pacific Ocean and this is called Tsunami.

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How the 1960 Valdivia Earthquake happened: Timeline

Timeline:  The 21st of May 1960 was a Saturday and in Chile, most people were preparing for the traditional commemoration of the Battle of Iquique happens every year, a naval battle that Chile lost against Peru during the War of the Pacific at the end of the 19th century.

At 6:02 am local time, the Earth under the coastal town of Concepcion began to shake violently. A few minutes later, after this 8.3 magnitude earthquake was over, 125 people were dead and a third of the buildings in town lay in wrecks.

Chile’s President Jorge Alessandri postponed the festivities and started to organize the emergency response to this very severe earthquake. However, In this time, the responders were disrupted by dozens of small earthquakes, whose epicenters slowly migrated south from Concepcion. Then, The strongest earthquake at 2:55 pm on Sunday reached a magnitude of 7.9.

But nobody knew that the worst was not yet started. Exactly 16 Minutes after the severe 7.9 magnitude Earthquake, the Earth literally opened up. Within the next ten minutes, two separate quakes happened among them one was 8.5 magnitude another was 9.5 Magnitude.

At 3:11 pm, The earthquake hit approximately 100 miles (160 km) off the coast of Chile, parallel to the city of Valdivia. It was the largest earthquake in the world had ever seen.

When it was over, the busy harbor town of Valdivia was crushed and entire coastal villages had disappeared. But No! No! This was also not the end. Then the monster Tsunami started caused by this 1960 Valdivia Earthquake – the biggest earthquake in the world. The wave of this Tsunami reached up to 25 meters in height. This monster weave crushed and havoc all across the Pacific Ocean coast including southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia, and the Aleutian Islands.

It was such a monster type that it caused a slight hiccup to the unstoppable rotation of our planet, making the days a few milliseconds shorter [Source: Wiki]. Nonetheless, according to modern calculations, this 1960 Valdivia Earthquake also known as the Great Chile Earthquake magnitude of 9.5, which makes it the biggest earthquake in the world ever recorded.

  • Biggest Earthquake in the world
  • 1960 Valdivia Earthquake | Biggest Earthquake in the world
  • 1960 Valdivia Earthquake | Biggest Earthquake in the world
  • 1960 Valdivia Earthquake

Impact of this Earthquake

1960 Valdivia Earthquake was named after the most affected city quake, Valdivia. The effects of this earthquake were observed up to 1000 km away from the coast of the chile country.

The 1960 Valdivia Earthquake –

  • Left 2 Million People Homeless
  • Approx. 3,000 People injured
  • Approx. 1,6599 People killed
  • Approx. $550 Million Dollar Economic damage (Which today’s value is >$4.8 Billion Dollar)

The Valdivia earthquake also triggered a massive tsunami that raced across the Pacific. And it affects the coastal countries like New Zealand, Japan, and the Philippines. In Chile’s Hawai’i coast, the tsunami devastated the coastal town of Hilo, killing 61 people.

Biggest Earthquake in the world
Biggest Earthquake in the world

Is it the most powerful earthquake on earth?

Though it is the biggest earthquake in the world with a magnitude of 9.5 in the Richter Scale, the 1960 Valdivia Earthquake is not the biggest earthquake in terms of damage. Yes, you heard it right! There are many powerful earthquakes with less magnitude compared to the 1960 Valdivia Earthquake, which occurs more serious damage to the world. Such as,

  • The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was caused by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake; it killed approx. with a minimum of 230,000 people in a dozen countries and cost about $15 Billion Dollars damage.
  • The Japan earthquake of 2011 had a magnitude of 9.0; it produced a tsunami that killed an estimated 19,300 people in Japan and costs about $360 Billion Dollars (World’s most expensive natural disaster ever). It blown up the electrical power of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, creating the world’s second most serious nuclear disaster.
  • The 2008 Sichuan earthquake also known as the Great Sichuan earthquake or Wenchuan earthquake, occurred in China clocked at 8.0 Magnitude. It causes over 69,000 people death,  374,176 were reported injured, with 18,222 listed as missing as of July 2008. It costs about $150 Billion Dollars. (See the full list from Wikipedia)

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. 😀 

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