Has anyone ever predicted an earthquake?

Earthquake records - strongest quakes

Here we have put together some spectacular facts about earthquakes.

Strongest earthquake

The largest earthquake magnitude ever measured was 9.5. This is how violent was the earthquake in Valdivia, which destroyed a small Chilean town on May 22, 1960 and triggered a tsunami up to 25 meters high. The official number of deaths was given as 1655. The reason for the comparatively few victims were the strong foreshocks that warned people.

It cannot be said with certainty today which is the absolutely strongest (i.e. the most energetic) earthquake in historical times. Methods have only been available for a good hundred years to objectively measure the energy of an earthquake. It is also important to know that a high magnitude does not always lead to major damage - for example if the earthquake focus is deep in the earth's crust.

Most of the earthquake deaths

The number of victims of catastrophes of earlier centuries can only be roughly estimated today. When the earth shook in the Middle East on May 20, 1202, it meant death for many people. The sources vary between 30,000 and incredible 1.1 million! The maximum estimate presumably includes indirect consequences of the earthquake (such as a famine).

Particularly violent catastrophes repeatedly hit China. An earthquake in the Chinese district of Hua on January 23, 1556 claimed around 830,000 victims. The earthquake on July 28, 1976 in the Chinese city of Tangshan was hardly less disastrous. If the official figures speak of "only" 242,000 victims, unofficial estimates assume more than 600,000 dead.

On December 26, 2004, Indonesia was hit by an equally strong earthquake with many victims. Around 230,000 people died, mainly in the devastating tsunami. With a magnitude of 9.1, it was also the worst quake in the 21st century. Wikipedia gives an overview of the earthquakes of our century.

Highest tsunami wave

According to one theory, a meteorite fell on earth around 200 million years ago and generated a tidal wave more than 1000 meters high. However, this assumption is not fully scientifically proven.

The most powerful tsunami in historical time was about 85 meters high and was triggered by a seaquake in the Pacific. It hit the Yaeyama Islands, now part of Japan, and claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Strongest earthquake in Germany

The small town of Düren is located in the very west of Germany, on the edge of the Eifel. On February 18, 1756, the city was the scene of what is perhaps the strongest German earthquake. According to current estimates, the tremors reached a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale. Hundreds of chimneys collapsed. Probably only four people were killed.

Long buried

In the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a man named Ricot Duprévil was accidentally found alive after being buried for 12 days. At least that's a record. The 31-year-old Duprévil was not buried in the main earthquake on January 12, but in an aftershock. Such “miracles” show how long people can survive under the best of circumstances, even under rubble.

An even longer survival time is reported from the 1915 earthquake in Azezzano, Italy: Here a man is said to have survived even 25 days under the rubble of a barn. Apparently it could keep itself alive with grain and water and water.


Actually, earthquakes are phenomena of the earth's crust and the upper mantle, which reach a maximum depth of 660 kilometers into the earth. Occasionally, however, hypocenters (earthquake foci) are found at depths of up to 720 kilometers. The cause is presumably earth plates, which are pulled far into the earth's mantle in so-called subduction zones and have not yet completely melted even at great depths. According to current theory, earthquakes can only be imagined if the rock involved is solid.

Earthquake lizard

The Seismosaurus was one of the largest dinosaurs of all time. Its Latin name means "earthquake lizard" and indicates that Seismosaurus ‘steps could make the earth shake. However, this is not to be understood in the literal sense, but only in the figurative sense.

Incidentally, the scientific views about the true size of the animal that lived around 150 million years ago diverge widely. The length estimates range from 32 to 50 meters, the estimated weight from 20 to 100 tons.