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12 of the Most Destructive Earthquakes


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Japan: January 17, 1995

This massive quake in Kobe, Japan, measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. It killed more than 5,000 people and caused in excess of $100 billion in property loss, making it the most costly earthquake in history. The staggering expense was largely due to the collapse of, or damage to, more than 200,000 buildings in the high cost-of-living area. Coincidentally, the Kobe quake -- or the Great Hanshin Earthquake, as it is most commonly known in Japan -- occurred on the first anniversary of the Northridge tremor.