Deadliest Earthquakes on Record

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

(50,000 deaths or more)

The following table lists the deadliest earthquakes on record according to date, location, number of deaths, and magnitude. On Jan. 23, 1556, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Shansi, China killing 830,000 people.

DateLocationDeathsMagnitude
Jan. 23, 1556Shansi, China 830,000~8
July 27, 1976Tangshan, China 255,00017.5
Aug. 9, 1138Aleppo, Syria230,000n.a.
Dec. 26, 2004off west coast of northern Sumatra225,000+9.0
Jan. 12, 2010Haiti222,5707.0
Dec. 22, 8562Damghan, Iran200,000n.a.
May 22, 1927near Xining, Tsinghai, China 200,0007.9
Dec. 16, 1920Gansu, China200,0007.8
March 23, 8932Ardabil, Iran150,000n.a.
Sept. 1, 1923Kwanto, Japan143,0007.9
Oct. 5, 1948Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, USSR110,0007.3
Dec. 28, 1908Messina, Italy70,000?
100,0003
7.2
Sept. 1290Chihli, China100,000n.a.
May 12, 2008Eastern Sichuan, China87,5877.9
Oct. 8, 2005Pakistan80,3617.6
Nov. 1667Shemakha, Caucasia80,000n.a.
Nov. 18, 1727Tabriz, Iran77,000n.a.
Dec. 25, 1932Gansu, China70,0007.6
Nov. 1, 1755Lisbon, Portugal70,0008.7
May 31, 1970Peru66,0007.9
May 30, 1935Quetta, Pakistan30,000?
60,000
7.5
Jan. 11, 1693Sicily, Italy60,000n.a.
12684Silicia, Asia Minor60,000n.a.
June 20, 1990Iran50,0007.7
Feb. 4, 1783Calabria, Italy 50,000n.a.
1. Official. Estimated death toll as high as 655,000.
2. Note that these dates are prior to A.D. 1000. No digit is missing.
3. Estimated.
4. No date available.
Source: National Earthquake Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey. Data compiled from several sources.