25 Worst Earthquakes In History

On Saturday April 25th 2015, Napal witnessed one of history’s worst earthquakes which claimed over 3000 lives and destroyed many historical sites. Though earthquakes are naturally-occurring incidents that are caused by the sudden release of energy in the earth’s shifting crust thus creating seismic waves, the devastation caused by this natural event is incomprehensible. Some of the worst earthquakes in history have claimed countless lives and billions of dollars worth of property damage. From the recent Napal Earthquake which has so far caused the lives of over 3,000 people to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, here are 25 of the worst earthquakes in the world, both in the number of deaths and magnitude.


Valdivia, Chile

Valdivia, Chile

When it comes to the earthquake’s magnitude, the 1960 Valdivia earthquake takes the cake at 9.5, which was equivalent to a massive 178-Gigatons of power. This can be comparable to 1,000 atomic bombs going off at the same time. The earthquake was not only felt in Valdivia but also reached Hawaii, at a distance of 435 miles. While only 6,000 people died in the catastrophe, it incurred more than $1 billion worth of damages.


Shaanxi, China

Shaanxi, China

This earthquake has sometimes been called the deadliest earthquake in history. The incident happened on January 23, 1556 in Shaanxi, China and devastated an area of 520 miles. It was felt in 97 countries; and resulted in more than 20 meters deep crevices and landslides, which collapsed numerous dwellings. The death toll of this devastating earthquake was 830,000, which is over 60% of the region’s population. Its magnitude was only 8.0 on the Richter scale or only 1-Gigaton, but the costs cannot be written in today’s terms.


Sumatra, Indonesia

Sumatra, Indonesia

This earthquake hit the sea bed of the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 with a magnitude of 9.1 to 9.3 or over 32-Gigatons, and caused the Boxing Day Tsunami. This was the second highest seismic activity recorded with the longest duration of tremors. The after-effects even reached Maldives and Thailand, with more than 5 tsunamis hitting the coastlines of the Indian Sea. It had a death toll of 100,100 to 225,000 with over $7 billion worth of rescue and damage costs during the first 8.3 to 10 minutes alone.


Aleppo, Syria

Aleppo, Syria

This disaster happened near the town of Aleppo in Syria on October 11, 1138. The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 8.5 or 2.8-Gigaton, was labeled as the fourth worst earthquake disaster in the world. Catastrophes included a nearby church that fell on itself causing the death of 600 guards and citizens, and total death toll of 230,000. A number of towns near the tremor were completely destroyed and had to be rebuilt to become habitable again.


Tangshan, China

Tangshan, Hebei

This tragedy happened on July 28, 1976 in Tangshan, Hebei and killed 255,000 people though the Chinese government first recorded its death toll at 655,000. The 8.2 magnitude or 2.2-Gigaton quake only lasted for 10 seconds, but brought a lot of devastation to the area. In addition, Tangshan is a region with a very low-risk for earthquakes, so the buildings were not earthquake-proof. The quake was 4 miles long and 5 miles wide, which left a total damage of 10 billion Yuan or $1.3 billion.


Haiyuan County, China

Haiyuan County, China

Also called ‘the 1920 Gansu Earthquake,’ this disaster happened in Haiyuan County, Ningxia. Though there were conflicting reports on its magnitude and death toll, as both the Chinese government and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) published different reports, it still brought catastrophic effects that were felt for over 125 miles and aftershocks that lasted over 3 years. The December 16, 1920 quake has conflicting magnitudes of 7.8 and 8.5 and death tolls of 200,000 or 240,000.


Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

The Haiti earthquake was a magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale, with an epicenter near Leogane, 25 km west of its capital, Port-au-Prince. It struck on January 12, 2010 where at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater could still be felt even 12 days later. The earthquake left a devastating wake of 316,000 deaths, 300,000 injured and 1,000,000 people homeless. It was estimated that 250,000 houses and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely destroyed.


Xining, China

Xining, China

Xining, which lies on the Huangshui River on the eastern part of Quinghai Province, experienced a magnitude 7.9 seismic activity on May 22, 1927. It killed 40,900 people though there were other reports that the death toll could be as high as 200,000. The earthquake was not only deadly but it also brought large fractures, damages to over 500 schools and office buildings causing many people to lose their occupations. This was also linked to the Great Gansu Earthquake.


Damghan, Iran

Damghan, Iran

The earliest record-breaking earthquake as it happened on December 22, 856, this earthquake struck Damghan, the capital of Iran at that time with a magnitude of 8.0 or 1-Gigaton power. It killed 200,000 people, with tremors that could be felt throughout the surrounding areas of Damghan causing these areas to be totally destroyed as well, though Damghan itself was not severely damaged. A great example was Bustam, a nearby town, which was completely leveled by the quake.


Tohoku, Japan

Tohoku, Japan

On March 11, 2011, the east coast of Tohoku in Japan was struck by a 9.03 magnitude earthquake, which was the strongest to ever hit Japan. Considered one of the top five largest earthquakes in the world, it caused destruction that claimed 15,878 lives, left 6,126 injured and 2,173 people missing across 20 prefectures. It also caused the collapsed of 129,225 buildings, while the tsunami brought about by the quake also caused severe structural damages, fires in many areas, and damages in roads and railways. This was the most difficult crisis Japan had ever faced after World War II as it did not only inflict damages to lives and properties, but also caused significant damages to four major nuclear power stations. Debris from the tsunami reached as far as Canada and Hawaii.


Kanto, Japan

Kanto, Japan

The Great Kanto earthquake was a magnitude 7.9 disaster that hit the Kanto plain, a main island of Honshu in Japan on September 1, 1923. This was once considered the deadliest earthquake in the history of Japan as it caused ‘the Great Tokyo Fire’ though the duration of the quake was only between 4 and 10 minutes. However, its record was surpassed by the 2011 Tohuku earthquake at a magnitude of 9.0. The fire alone claimed the lives of 140,000 people and destroyed 447,000 houses. This does not include those who died from landslides, tsunamis, and 57 aftershocks, which had estimated deaths of 93,000 people and 43,500 missing.


Ashgabat, Soviet Union

Ashgabat, Soviet Union

This earthquake occurred on October 6, 1948 near Ashgabat, USSR with a magnitude of 7.3. Due to censorship, this was not reported in the media so there were no reports regarding its casualties or damages. Due to the secrecy, it was purported that the earthquake was the result of Soviet Union’s first atomic bomb test. Media sources also vary on the number of casualties from 10,000 to 176,000 though a correct death toll was reported in December 9, 1988 as 110,000. The earthquake also caused the collapsed of brick buildings, concrete structures and freight trains.


Messina, Italy

Messina, Italy

This was a 7.1-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that claimed the lives of some 100,000 to 200,000 lives in Messina and Reggio in Sicily and Calabria in southern Italy. The earthquake, which took place on December 28, 1908, caused the ground to shake for 30 to 40 seconds and was felt in a 186-mile radius. A 12-meter tsunami also hit the nearby coasts causing more destruction including the death of 70,000 residents with 91% of the structures in Messina destroyed.


Chihli, China

Chihli, China

The Chihli earthquake happened in September 27, 1290 with the epicenter near Ningcheng in Inner Mongolia with an estimated magnitude of 6.8. However, it has a maximum felt intensity of nine on the Mercalli intensity scale as it claimed the lives of some 100,000 people. It also destroyed 480 storehouses and countless homes in nearby areas, including the Fengguo Temple in Yingxian.


Sichuan, China

Sichuan, China

The Great Sichuan Earthquake occurred on May 8, 2008 with a magnitude that measured 8.0 and 7.9. It was so great that it was felt in nearby countries and as far away as Beijing and Shanghai where buildings swayed with tremors. Official figures for the damages include 69,197 deaths with 68,636 in Sichuan province, 374,176 injured and 18,222 missing. This was considered as the deadliest earthquake to hit China after the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, as it left 4.8 million to 15 million people homeless. The Chinese government is appropriating 1 trillion Yuan or $146.5 billion to rebuild areas ravaged by the great quake.


Kashmir, Pakistan

Kashmir, Pakistan

The October 8, 2005 Kashmir, Pakistan was visited by an earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.6.The disaster had a death toll of 85,000 and more than 69,000 were injured. Considered to be smaller in size than the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, it affected countries in surrounding regions with 14,000 deaths in Jammu and tremors felt in Taijikistan and western China. It also cost a staggering $5.4 billion in aids from all around the world.


Shemakha, Azerbaijan

Shemakha, Azerbaijan

This was a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that occurred in November 1667 with its epicenter close to the city of Samaxi, Azerbaijan. It had a maximum felt intensity of ten and caused the death of 80,000 people. It had a focal depth of 12 kilometers with an estimated damage of over $25 million.


Tabriz, Iran

Tabriz, Iran

This took place near the city of Tabriz, Iran on April 26, 1721, and destroyed prominent mosques and schools resulting in death casualties of 8,000 to 250,000, though it was approximated at 80,000 only. Interpreted as an omen of misfortune or a demonstration of divine wrath, it contributed to the success of the Ottoman take-over of Tabriz in 1722 and on its economic difficulties, as well as the destruction of the city’s significant historical monuments.


Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Known as the ‘Great Lisbon Earthquake,’ this event occurred on November 1, 1755 in the Kingdom of Portugal. Seismologists today estimate the Lisbon earthquake in the range of 8.5 to 9.0 on the moment magnitude scale that has a deadly combination of subsequent fires and a tsunami. It totally destroyed Lisbon and its surrounding areas with an estimated death toll of between 10,000 and 100,000 people. Because of its devastating effects over large areas, this event resulted in the scientific studies of modern seismology and earthquake engineering.


Yungay, Peru

Yungay, Peru

This Great Peruvian Earthquake was an undersea earthquake that affected the regions of Ancash and La Libertad. It occurred in May 31, 1970 ad was recorded as the worst catastrophic natural disaster that hit Peru, which affected over 3 million people. It has a magnitude of 7.9 to 8.0 on the Richter scale with an intensity of VIII on the Mercalli scale, which lasted for 45 seconds. This caused the rock, ice, and snow avalanche on the northern wall of Mount Huascaran burying the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca, which led to the death of 20,000 people in Yungay alone. The damages incurred tallied to 74,194 deaths, 25,600 missing, 143,331 injured, and more than a million homeless. The estimated economic loss was more than half a billion USD with the entire communication system and basic facilities destroyed.


Sicily, Italy

Sicily, Italy

On January 11, 1693, a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 and maximum intensity of XI or ‘extreme’ had struck the parts of Sicily, Calabria, and Matta in southern Italy. Considered the most powerful in Italian history, it destroyed at least 70 towns and cities causing the death of 60,000 people. It was also followed by a tsunami that hit the Ionian Sea and the Straits of Messina, wiping out two-thirds of the entire population of Catania.


Rudbar, Iran

Rudbar, Iran

This disastrous event happened on June 21, 1990 and caused widespread damage within 100 kilometers of the epicenter’s radius near the city of Rashi, and about 200 kilometer northwest of Tehran. It destroyed 700 villages across the cities of Rudbar, Manjiil, and Lushan and cost $200,000,000 in damages, including 40,000 fatalities, 60,000 injured and 500,000 people homeless.


Izmit, Turkey

Izmit, Turkey

This was a 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck northern Turkey on August 17, 1990, which lasted for only 3.7 seconds. The city of Izmit was very badly damaged and had a death toll of 17,127 and 43, 959 injured though other sources suggested that the actual figure for fatalities may be closer to 45,000 with a similar number of injured. Another report from September 1999 showed that the earthquake had destroyed 120,000 poorly-engineered houses, heavily damaged 50,000 houses; caused 2,000 buildings to collapse while 4,000 other buildings left severely damaged, and made more than 300,000 people homeless.


Nankaido, Japan

Nankaido, Japan

This 8.6 magnitude earthquake that occurred on September 20, 1498, off the coast of Nankia, Japan triggered a large tsunami, which cost the lives of between 26,000 and 31,000 people. It caused severe shaking that reached the Boso Peninsula and also caused a tsunami in the Suruga Bay, which destroyed the building that housed the statue of the Great Buddha at Kotuku-in.


Nepal Earthquake (between Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara)

Nepal Earthquake

Image from bbc.com

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in an area between the capital, Kathmandu, and the city of Pokhara on Saturday April 25, 2015 with what has been described as a force equaling that of 20 thermonuclear weapons. The devastation claimed the lives of at least 3,617 people while injuring 6,500 more with authorities warning that casualty numbers could rise. The devastating quake also destroyed major monuments such as the Dharahara tower, temples and world heritage sites near Kathmandu.

A Furniture Company Found A Way To Save The Lives Of Thousands Of Refugees

As you might imagine, refugee camps are not exactly the nicest places to live. Aside from being filled with the memories of violence, war, and disaster, they’re also temporary, often flimsy shelters that can’t stand up to the elements and lack a lot of basic amenities.

Yet with the ongoing conflict in Syria (now entering its fifth year), the number of people living in refugee camps has drastically increased to 4 million—and it’s still growing. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) calls the Syrian refugee crisis the “biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.” So what can we do to help?

For a long time, shelters like these have been used at refugee camps in places like Syria. However, they only last about six months, and don’t offer much protection from harsher elements.

Swedish furniture company IKEA stepped up to the challenge of combatting the threats of unstable shelters. They brought their trademark of ease-of-assembly to a 188-square-foot shelter called the Better Shelter. This structure can house five people, and comes with a built-in solar panel that can power a light and a cell phone charger, allowing refugees to stay in contact and updated. It’s also made with a plastic foam that insulates better than a canvas tent.

The Better Shelter ships flat, and is then assembled on-site.

The Better Shelter has been in the works for years, and is finally ready for actual use in refugee camps. The UNHCR has already ordered 10,000 units.

While housing for 50,000 is a lot, there will still be many refugees stuck without shelter.

The shelters take around four hours to assemble, and each one is designed to last three years, or six times longer than conventional refugee shelters.

However, they are also twice as expensive at $1,150, which could potentially put more of a strain on the UNHCR. Johan Karlsson from Better Shelter says that for longevity’s sake, the increased price is still worth it. However, the organization is working to get the prices lowered to under $1,000.

The shelters are still a work in process, and they can’t help everyone yet, but they are a step in the right direction.

(via Mashable)

IKEA and the UNHCR hope that the Better Shelter will not only keep fleeing families safe, but also provide them with a sense of dignity. In the end, the new shelters will allow them to live more comfortably and with more stability. You can learn more about the Better Shelter and other programs for displaced people, especially children, on the IKEA Foundation’s website.

New Technology Is Awesome, Unless Robots End Up Taking Your Job

We live in a high tech, fast-paced world with rapidly advancing technologies. And while many things are still incredibly manual, countless jobs that humans once had to do are now performed by more efficient machines. We’re not just talking car washes or warehouse assembly lines, no, they’re infiltrating society much more than you might realize. Check out what jobs robots will be (or already are) doing in the very near future.

1. Referees and Umpires

With the amount of human error involved in close calls made by professional referees, having precise judgments by robot referees wouldn’t be a bad thing. “Beep beep boop – you’re out!”

2. Attorneys


Imagine if you needed a lawyer and they not only knew your case inside and out, but also could recall every single detail of all other trials remotely related to yours. Case dismissed!

3. Financial Traders

The stock market is extremely unpredictable, making some trading akin to gambling. But robot traders would be able to take in massive amounts of data that would help guide them to making the best moves. You could potentially rake it in!

4. Cashiers

Self-checkout is a precursor to more advanced forms of robot cashiers that will arrive down the line. Say so long to the “pleasant” chitchat with your grocery store cashier.

5. Professional Drivers

Robot-operated cars could greatly reduce traffic, commute time, and accidents on the roads. The only bad thing? You might have to take your road rage out on your passenger, instead of other drivers.

6. Artists

That’s right, robots are being built to produce art. Maybe someday museums will be full of beautiful pieces created by robots. Weird.

7. Telemarketers


Say farewell to the days of taking your anger out on an unsuspecting telemarketer. Soon you’ll just be yelling at a robot. Actually, it might not be all that different…

8. Firefighters

Firefighters risk their lives every day. This robot would be able to do the job that firefighters perform, without the exposure to danger. (Question: does he remind anyone else of the Terminator?)

9. Accountants


Robot accountants would be able to take in infinite amounts of financial information, without making mistakes that some human accountants do. Plus, they won’t care when you hand in all your tax documents a week before the due date…

10. Customer Service Representatives


In the future, when you call a company about questions, technological glitches, or service complaints, the system menu might not be the only computerized part (which could potentially be good?).

11. Teachers

A “Digital Aristotle” is a proposed robotic technology that would bring teaching into future. The robot would cater to the needs of each student, processing individual learning preferences to make the teaching process more streamlined. But where would you put your apple to get your gold star?

12. Doctors

IBM’s Watson has proven to be extremely effective at diagnosing diseases and recommending treatments. What if someday, we all went to the same doctor (one big computer program)?

13. Real Estate Agents

This may sound strange, but real estate agent robots could be very effective in finding exactly what you want amongst a wide range of options. House hunting is a pain.

14. Waiters

The above robot is named Baxter and he can learn the manual operations of countless jobs, including serving food and taking orders. There’s also a specific robot restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.

15. Writers

This has actually already started to happen. Some media companies are using robots to write concise articles quickly and without error. Now I’m worried…

(via TopTenz, CheatSheet, makeuseof)

Even though it can be a little unnerving to think about all the jobs that robots will be doing in the future, we’ve got to take the good with the bad. It could be very beneficial to have robots doing these jobs. Then again, I’ll wait to see how I feel when a robot replaces me.

Few People Know About The Tragic Diary This Unknown Girl Kept During WWII

Every child in America who received a public school education knows about the Diary of Anne Frank. This historic non-fiction work features the tragic entries of a Dutch girl and German-born citizen who, along with her family, was taken to the concentration camps and killed because of her Jewish heritage.

Yet there is another, lesser known journal of note from Germany’s domination during WWII. While it may not be as fleshed out as Frank’s, the diary of Tanya Savicheva is no less powerful. It serves as a reminder of the hopelessness the civilians in occupied areas felt during the Nazi takeover.

On September 8, 1941, the German army occupied a small Soviet city in what would soon be called the Siege of Leningrad. The Nazis remained until 1944, forcing the people of Leningrad into grueling slave labor.

Tanya Savicheva was just 11 years old when the Nazis came to Leningrad, and yet the Nazis forced her to dig trenches for the soldiers and put out firebombs.

Conditions for the Leningrad people were brutal. Tanya’s sister, Zhenya, was the first to go of the Savicheva family. After working two shifts every day to make mine cases for the Germans, Zhenya would then be summoned to donate blood. Her body couldn’t handle it and she soon passed away.

At this time, Tanya had already burned her real diary in order to stay warm during the winter. However, she refused to burn her sister Zhenya’s notebook, which is where she recorded the subsequent deaths of her entire family in just three short years.

The remains of the diary provide a chilling and grim account of what Tanya experienced during the war. It’s hard to imagine just what she went through, but this lone entry gives a horrifyingly brief example of what she witnessed:

Zhenya died on Dec. 28th at 12:00 P.M. 1941

Grandma died on Jan. 25th 3:00 P.M. 1942
Leka died on March 17th at 5:00 A.M. 1942
Uncle Vasya died on Apr. 13th at 2:00 after midnight 1942
Uncle Lesha on May 10th at 4:00 P.M. 1942
Mother on May 13th at 7:30 A.M. 1942
Savichevs died.
Everyone died.
Only Tanya is left.

Tanya’s whole family died due to the horrific conditions the Russians were forced to endure during the Siege of Leningrad. Around 1,042,000 civilians were killed during those three years.

Tanya was eventually rescued from Leningrad in 1942 and taken to Krasny Bor along with 140 other children. All of the children survived except for Tanya, who died of intestinal tuberculosis five months after the siege. A memorial featuring the contents of her diary is featured in Shatki. The site has since become so popular that it now contains a memorial complex structure, detailing the siege that caused the ruin of Tanya’s family.

These 24 People Prove That The World Isn't A Bad Place...I'm Inspired

It’s easy to only see the negative side of things. All you have to do is turn on the news to discover some sort of tragedy or sad story. But what we tend to forget is that every day, all around the globe, people are doing little things that help make this world a better place.

These random acts of kindness remind us that the world isn’t so terrible after all. The small gestures below are just a tiny sample of the nice things people do for each other, day in and day out.

1. A deliveryman was involved in a collision, so these police officers delivered the pizza for him.

2. These Lowes’ employees fixed this veteran’s wheelchair when it broke in the store.

3. A firefighter made sure this little kitten was okay.

4. These little notes were left around a high school, making someone’s day a bit brighter.

5. Random business cards made people see themselves in a more positive light.

6. These students gathered to mourn the loss of one student’s mother to cancer.

7. This tourist brightened a little girl’s day when he handed her a flower.

8. During a flood, this man risked his life to save these kittens.

9. A child had the idea to install a refrigerator where people could leave food for those who need it.

10. They saw this puppy was in danger. They didn’t hesitate to help out.

11. This Subway decided to help feed the hungry.

12. These customers defended a cashier, and were unexpectedly rewarded.

13. Olive Garden didn’t charge this family for their meal after hearing that their house had recently burned down.

14. There’s nothing like a random stranger buying you a large iced coffee.

15. It was a hot summer day, so someone did something nice to cool everyone off.

16. Rather than leave the glasses behind, a Good Samaritan picked them up and hung them for when their owner returned.

17. He gave his shoes to someone who didn’t have any.

18. He made sure she didn’t get wet in the rain.

19. This kid sold lemonade for smiles.

20. This bookstore believes that reading is more important than money.

21. Seeing that someone’s car window was left open in the rain, this person did their best to help out.

22. They made a morning commute a little more cheerful.

23. This free snack was certainly a nice surprise for someone having a rough day.


24. This police officer tied the shoelaces of an old man.

It’s a beautiful thing when people perform random acts of kindness for others. Hold a door open, leave a dollar somewhere, go ahead – do something selfless today, you’ll be amazed at the good it does.