The largest earthquake in the world had a magnitude of 9.5 and took place in Chile. The Valdivia Earthquake, also know as the Great Chilean Earthquake, happened on Sunday, May 22, 1960. It is the largest earthquake currently on record. It occured in the afternoon and the resulting tsunami affected southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia, and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.
The epicenter of the Valdivia earthquake was near Lumaco, a coastal city with a population of roughly 11,405. Various estimates of the total number of fatalities from the earthquake and tsunamis have been published, with the USGS citing studies with figures of 2,231; 3,000; or 5,700 killed, and another source uses an estimate of 6,000 dead. An estimated cost of 2.9 to 5.8 billion in damage.
The 1960 Valdivia earthquake was actually just a series of many strong earthquakes from May 21 to June 6,1960. The first was the Concepción earthquake and the strongest was the Valdivia earthquake. The first Concepción earthquake was on May 21,1960. Its epicenter was near Curanilahue. The second and third Concepción earthquakes occurred a few hours apart from each other on May 22.
The Valdivia earthquake occurred on May 22. This earthquake affected all of Chile between Talca and Chiloé Island, more than 150,000 sq mi. Most coastal villages disappeared. At Corral, the main port of Valdivia, the water level rose 13 ft before it began to recede. A wave of 26 ft struck the Chilean coast, mainly between Concepción and Chiloe. Ten minutes later another wave measuring 33 ft was reported.
Hundreds of people were already reported dead by the time the tsunami struck. One ship, Canelos, starting at the mouth of Valdivia River sank after being moved 0.93 mi backward and forward in the river; its mast is still visible today.
A number of Spanish-colonial forts were completely destroyed. Soil subsidence also destroyed buildings, deepened local rivers, and...
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