12 of the Most Destructive Earthquakes


Peru: May 31, 1970

A 7.9 magnitude quake just off the western coast of South America caused more than $500 million in damage and killed 66,000 Peruvians, with building collapses responsible for most of the deaths. Scientists say the South American tectonic plate continues to drift westward into the Pacific Ocean crustal slab, so additional serious earthquakes along the continent's coast are likely.