May 10, 2021 | Colin Jarrett |

The most powerful earthquake ever recorded was a magnitude 9.5 temblor in Chile in 1960. A magnitude 10 quake would likely cause ground motions for up to an hour, with tsunami hitting while shaking is still going on.

A researcher at Tohoku University told the government’s Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction, Japan that it is theoretically possible that any part in the world could see a quake with a magnitude of around 10. The energy of such an earthquake would be 30 times greater than the magnitude 9.0 quake that hit the northeast on March 11, 2011. The most powerful quake ever recorded was magnitude 9.5 temblor in Chile in May 22, 1960 which was referred to as the “Great Chilean Earthquake” and the “1960 Valdivia Earthquake”. If a number 10 earthquake should ever take place, it would be around every 10,000 years says Professor Toru Matsuzawa of the University’s Research Center for Prediction of Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions.

The earthquake occurred beneath the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile. Ground motion from this earthquake destroyed or damaged thousands of buildings. The Chilean government estimated that about 2,000,000 people were left homeless. It was fortunate that the earthquake occurred in the middle of the afternoon and was preceded by powerful foreshocks. That foreshock frightened most people from their buildings, placing them outside when the main earthquake occurred.

Most of the damage and deaths were caused by a series of tsunamis that were generated by the earthquake. The waves swept over coastal areas moments after the earthquake occurred. They pushed buildings from their foundations and drowned many people.

There are many different casualty estimates for this earthquake. They range from a low of 490 to a high of approximately 6,000. Most of the casualties were caused by tsunamis in Chile and from ground motion. However, people as far as in the Philippines were killed by this event.

The costs of the damage were estimated to have been between $400 and $800 million in 1960 dollars.

The earthquake was preceded by four foreshocks greater than magnitude 7.0. The largest was a magnitude 7.9 earthquake one day before that caused significant damage in the Concepcion area.


1) drop to the ground and take cover
2) stay away from glass, windows or light fixtures
3) stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes
4) do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you
5) stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside
6) do NOT use elevators
7) be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on

If you are outside

1) stay there
2) move away from buildings, street lights and ip utility wires
3) once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops.

Are you prepared for an earthquake? Be in the know!!

Contributed by HE Prof Colin O Jarrett
Source: www.geology.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *