Greatest Earthquake on Record

Taking the honors for the greatest earthquake ever felt is Chile, in 1960.

The reason it is entitles the greatest is not the amount of damage or the number of deaths it caused, but instead the amount of energy that was measured during the active rumblings of the earthquake.

About 100 miles off the coast of Chile, in the Pacific Ocean a great rumbling was heard by many. It was 60 meters down, situated on the ocean floor. Towns which were nearby, such as Valdivia and Puerto were literally devastated by the proximity to such a massive burst of energy as this.

Greatest Earthquake on Record
Greatest Earthquake on Record

Foreshocks began about half an hour before the actual earthquake, which were large enough to be felt on the land.

People felt them, and rushed outside, eager to talk with their neighbors and calm their nerves.

Because of this, many who might have been inside were not, and were spared what could have been a serious situation. When the main earthquake came many people were outdoors and when their homes and buildings fell most were vacated. Damages were estimated in the billions of dollars from the main quake.

Not only homes were devastated but so too was the land around them.

Enormous landslides, which threw massive amounts of earth and debris, took place, rock covered roads and mountain slopes fell to the land beneath them. One landslide was so huge that it literally changed the course of a major river, and dammed it, creating lakes.

The land near the city of Puerto Montt sank downward and the city was entirely flooded with water from the nearby ocean.

Tsunamis rose, traveling thousands of miles across the ocean and touched the shores of Hawaii the Philippines and even Japan, eroding everything in their paths.

Some who survived the tsunami after the earthquake told of the immense power of it.

Greatest Earthquake on Record
Greatest Earthquake on Record

“Nelly Gallardo survived the tsunami that followed the 1960 Chile earthquake by clinging to a log. The earthquake struck while she was digging for clams on the shore more than 4 miles west of Maullín, Chile. Soon after the shaking from the quake stopped, she walked about 100 yards inland to a house that was more than half a mile from the nearest high ground.

The next thing Ms. Gallardo recalls is floating on a tree trunk. She clung to this trunk until the next morning. For a time she heard a man’s voice crying for help-his body was found later. At daybreak she was more than a mile from where the tsunami had swept her up. The tsunami included many waves, but Ms. Gallardo recalls only the one that set her adrift.”

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