12 of the Most Destructive Earthquakes


Southern Chile: May 22, 1960

The strongest earthquake ever recorded -- 9.5 on the Richter scale -- was actually a succession of large quakes that struck southern Chile over the span of a few hours. A catastrophic tsunami ensued, severely ravaging the Chilean coast before rushing across the Pacific to pulverize Hawaii. In Chile, landslides, flooding, and the eruption of the Puyehue volcano less than two days later followed in the wake of the quake. All told, there were more than 5,700 deaths and $675 million in property damage in Chile, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, and the Philippines.