December 29, 2004


Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Henan Provinces of China on February 2, 1556. Believed to have killed approximately 830,000 people.

Tangshan, China, on July 28, 1976. The official figure of 242,000 deaths.

Earthquake off the coast of Sanriku, Japan, in 1896, approximately 27,000 people were drowned when a tsunami hit the coast. A wave that struck Shirahama had a distance between wave trough and peak of 38.2 m (125 ft).

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake in Kanto Plain, Japan in 1923, destroyed an estimated 575,000 dwellings in Tokyo and Yokohama. The official total of people killed and missing in the quake and its resultant fires was 142,807.

The Napier earthquake in 1931 killed 258 people and was 7.8-7.9 on the Richter scale. The area was raised 1-2 meters.

On January 23 1855, the Wairarapa Fault ruptured in a 8.1-8.2 magnitude earthquake and the entire Wellington Region was tilted westward. About 5,000 square kilometers of land was shifted vertically, with uplift of 6m near Turakirae Head and 1-2m in the Wellington Harbour. The greatest horizontal movement along the fault was 12m. A tsunami washed over Lyall and Evans Bays, flooded shops along Lambton Quay despite arriving at low tide.

A large, shallow quake along the Wellington Fault, say magnitude 7.4, which happened during the day would kill 400 people. We could expect about 2,800 homes and other buildings to be destroyed and another 100,000 buildings to be damaged in some way.

The 1989 San Fransisco earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale killed around 75 people and damaged 100,000 buildings. In contrast, the 1906 earthquake killed around 700 people at a similar magnitude.

The Kobe earthquake in 1995 killed over 5,000 people, and had a magnitude of 7.2. Very few of the buildings built to the strict 1981 building code were damaged. An 8.0 earthquake in Hokaido in 2003 only killed one person. The Great Kanto earthquake (magnitude 8.2) in Tokyo in 1923 killed over 200,000.

The Mexico City earthquake of 1985 was an 8.1 and killed around 8,000 people.

The earthquake which flattened Bam in Iran on Boxing Day last year was only 6.6 but killed 26,271 people due to the traditional building materials and techniques.

The 9.5 magnitude earthquake in southern Chile in 1960 killed more than 2,000 people injured 3,000 and left 2,000,000 homeless, tsunami caused 61 deaths in Hawaii; 138 deaths in Japan; 32 dead and missing in the Phillippines. The tsunami also knocked over some of the Easter Island giant statues.

The Lisbon earthquake was estimated at 8.0 on the Richter scale and killed around 60,000 people.

Around 25,000 were killed in Armenia in 1988 in an earthquake of only 6.9 in magnitude.


In case anyone cares (or remembers at a relevant moment) I'll be heading to the Aro Valley Community Centre or Te Aro Primary School if a bad quake hits Wellington (though probably after leaving word at the local Civil Defence Centre for the are I am in at the time - and assuming I can still get around ok).

Posted by carla at December 29, 2004 03:38 PM
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