61 years since largest earthquake; Valdivia holds title

KENDALL SCHUBERT, Business Manager

      Hurricanes. Blizzards. Tornados. Earthquakes. Natural disasters occur around the world regularly. 

        In 1960 near Valdivia, Chile, South American experienced a 9.5-magnitude earthquake, the largest earthquake ever recorded in the world. The largest earthquake recorded in the United States was a 9.2-magnitude quake in 1964 in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Alaska and California experience the most earthquakes out of all the states.

      According to the United States Geological Study (USGS), earthquakes occur because of a slip of the tectonic plates on a fault. Tectonic plates are constantly moving against each other, however, sometimes they get stuck and when the stress becomes too much an earthquake releases energy that causes the shaking felt on land. 

        There were foreshocks the previous day in Chile, one of which was a magnitude of 8.1 and caused major destruction in Concepción states Britannica.  The foreshocks warned the people of Chile and frightened most out of their buildings before the main earthquake occurred. 

       The natural disaster struck Valdivia, Chile and left it with nearly two million people homeless according to National Geographic. The site also states the “rupture zone stretched from estimates ranging from 311 miles to almost 621 miles along the country’s coast.” 

        National Geographic tells how the 9.5-magnitude earthquake also created a tsunami that travelled as far as New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, and Hawaii. The natural disaster left 5,700 people dead in its wake said by History.

       A website by the name of Geology states how the tsunami travelled across the Pacific Ocean at 200 miles per hour. It reached the coasts of Hilo, Hawaii where there were 35-foot waves that destroyed buildings and killed 61 people.

     The waves also reached Japan with 18 ft waves that destroyed “1600 buildings and left 165 people dead or missing.” In the Philippines 32 people were killed by the waves about 24 hours after the earthquake hit in South America.

       Most damage and deaths were the cause by the tsunami that arose only moments after the ground shook also stated by Geology. At the time of the disaster, the damage totaled to $550 million which is equivalent to $4.8 billion today. 

       Senior Nicole Hackett remembers a few years back she was lying in bed on the phone with her friend when they both felt their houses shaking. According to Maryland Department of Natural Resources the state only experiences about one earthquake every three years or so. 

        Freshman Maddie Caiazzo recalls a day when she was about 10 years old and she was in the kitchen alone when the ground started shaking. She says she didn’t understand what it was and ran outside to her dad and later found out there was an earthquake in Delaware at the time she felt it.