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Historic Earthquakes

Links to photos and stories about the most significant earthquakes in history.
  1. 1906 San Francisco Quake (20)

Where Were You During the Loma Prieta Quake
Share your story from the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

The Sumatra Earthquake of 26 December 2004
The greatest earthquake in 40 years killed 300,000 people.

Hector Mine, California, 16 October 1999
A page of links about the perfect earthquake.

The Hector Mine Earthquake
The "perfect quake" was responsible for some striking pictures of seismic features.

Kobe (Hyogoken-Nanbu), Japan, 17 January 1995
A thorough ten-year retrospective study by consulting firm RMS documents the Kobe earthquake's effects and consequences.

Northridge, California, 17 January 1994
A thorough report on the Northridge quake from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Loma Prieta, 17 October 1989
The World Series earthquake is covered in detail by the U.S. Geological Survey, whose Menlo Park offices were shaken hard that day.

Loma Prieta Ten Years After
A reminiscence and report on how the "Pretty Big One" looked from 1999.

Borah Peak, Idaho, 28 October 1983
The most powerful quake recorded in Idaho (M7.3) is captured in detailed photos and published accounts by the University of Utah.

Alaska, 27 March 1964
The Good Friday earthquake was a landmark in geological science.

Niigata, Japan, 16 June 1964
This page from the University of Washington mainly focuses on the effects of liquefaction, with the memorable tilted apartments well photographed.

Hebgen Lake, Montana, 18 August 1959
This sensational earthquake (M7.5) and landslide near the Yellowstone country is documented in photos and stories by the University of Utah.

Queen Charlotte Island, Canada, 22 August 1949
Canada's largest historic quake, described by the Geological Survey of Canada.

Messina, Italy, 28 December 1908
Europe's deadliest earthquake and tsunami is summarized by consultants RMS, including a consideration of what would happen if it occurred today.

The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906
The Great San Francisco Earthquake was the stuff of legend, but it really happened. See lots more resources in the 1906 quake special category.

Giles County, Virginia, 31 May 1897
Virginia Tech Seismological Observatory presents old newspaper accounts of this rare strong event.

Charleston, South Carolina, 31 August 1886
The U.S. Geological Survey summarizes this traumatizing quake, which took the area totally by surprise and remains the largest in the eastern USA.

Andalusia, 25 December 1884
Photos and maps of the great Christmas earthquake from the University of Granada, Spain (in Spanish).

Fort Tejon, California, 9 January 1857
The Southern California Earthquake Data Center talks about the biggest California quake of them all, so far.

New Madrid Region, U.S. Midwest, 1811–12
The best site about this, the biggest quake ever known in America, is at the Virtual Times.

Boston, Massachusetts, 18 November 1755
A look at this significant quake, the largest in the northeastern USA in 250 years.

Lisbon, Portugal, 1 November 1755
Pictures and a description of this calamity, which ruined one of Europe's greatest cities and affected the course of history.

Cascadia, 26 January 1700
The Geological Survey of Canada has a page about this magnitude-9 monster, which was recorded across the Pacific in Japan.

Greatest Earthquakes in the United States
A rogues gallery of Big Ones from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Famous Writers' Earthquake Stories
Mark Twain, Jack London, Charles Darwin, and John Muir all lived through quakes and wrote about them. A lovely set of pages from UC Santa Barbara.

Did They Feel It?
You may be able to contribute to earthquake science by checking your old family letters.

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