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Wednesday, 14 February, 2001, 15:18 GMT
Deadly history of earthquakes
Kobe quake
The Hyogo earthquake in 1995 devastated Kobe in Japan
Earthquakes have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the last 100 years and improvements in technology have only slightly reduced the death toll.

25 May 2001:

An earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale hits south-western China, killing two and injuring more than 600.

26 January 2001:

An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale devastates much of Gujarat state in northwestern India, killing an estimated 30,000 people and making more than a million homeless. Bhuj and Ahmedabad are among the towns worst hit.

13 January 2001:

El Salvador is devasted by an earthquake measuring between 7.6 and 7.9 on the Richter scale. More than 700 people die.

16 November 2000:

An earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale shakes Papua New Guinea, triggering at least one tidal wave.

6 October 2000:

An earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, injured 30 people and damaged about 200 homes in Japan.

21 September 1999:

Taiwan is hit by a quake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, killing nearly 2,500 people and causing damage to every town in the island.

7 September 1999:

The northern suburbs of the Greek capital Athens are hit by an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale.

17 August 1999:

An earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale rocks the Turkish cities of Izmit and Istanbul, leaving more than 17,000 dead and many more injured.

March 1999:

Uttar Pradesh in northern India is hit by two earthquakes in as many days, killing more than 100.

January 1999:

A shock measuring 6.0 kills up to 1,000 in the Colombian town of Armenia.

July 1998:

More than 1,000 are killed after a tsunami or sea wave, caused by an undersea earthquake, wipes out communities on the north-western coast of Papua New Guinea.

June 1998:

Adana in south-eastern Turkey is shaken by an earthquake measuring 6.3 which claims 144 lives. A week later the same area suffers two strong aftershocks, leaving more than 1,000 people injured.

May 1998:

Northern Afghanistan is hit by a major earthquake, killing 4,000 people.

February 1997:

A quake measuring 5.5 tears apart rural areas of north-western Iran, killing 1,000 people. Three months later a stronger tremor, measuring 7.1, kills 1,560 in eastern Iran.

May 1995:

The far eastern island of Sakhalin is hit by a massive earthquake, measuring 7.5, which claims the lives of 1,989 Russians.

January 1995:

The Hyogo quake hits the city of Kobe in Japan, killing 6,430 people.

June 1994:

Around 1,000 people are killed by an earthquake and ensuing landslide in Colombia.

September 1993:

About 10,000 villagers are killed in western and southern India.


More than 40,000 people die in a tremor in the northern Iranian province of Gilan.

October 1989:

The Loma Prieta earthquake hits California, killing 68 people.

December 1988:

An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale devastates northwest Armenia, killing 25,000 people.

September 1985:

Mexico City is shaken by a huge earthquake which razes buildings and kills 10,000 people.


Hundreds are killed by tremors which ripple through southern Italy.


The Chinese city of Tangshan is reduced to rubble in a quake that claims up to 500,000 lives.


An earthquake measuring 9.2 on the Richter Scale kills 25 people in Prince William Sound in Alaska, and triggers a tsunami killing a further 110 people.


The world's strongest recorded earthquake devastates Chile, with a reading of 9.5 on the Richter scale. A tsunami 30ft (10m) high eliminates entire villages in Chile and kills 61 hundreds of miles away in Hawaii.


A violent land earthquake hits Assam in north-eastern India. The shock sent needles off seismographs but was officially logged as a 9.0 on the Richter scale.


The Fukui quake, centred in the East China Sea, devastates western Japan, killing 3,770.


Taiwan is hit by a tremor measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale, which kills 3,276 people.


Britain's most violent earthquake, with its epicentre on the Dogger Bank in the North Sea, is recorded at 5.5 on the Richter scale. There are few casualties.


The Great Kanto earthquake, with its epicentre just outside Tokyo, claims the lives of 142,800 people in the Japanese capital.


San Francisco is hit by a series of violent shocks which last up to a minute. Between 700 and 3,000 people die either from collapsing buildings or in the subsequent fire.

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05 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
The Earth's Ring of Fire
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