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News In Brief

FACTSHEET: Japan’s largest earthquakes on record

Matt Berger Mar 11, 2011

Japan’s devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake, which struck the region Friday and set off a giant tsunami, is expected to go down in history as one of the country’s largest on record, according to data from the U.S. Geological Service (USGS). Dozens of aftershocks have also struck the region, some measuring a magnitude greater than 6.0 on the Richter scale.

The quake ranks itself at least in the top five since since 1891, when an 8.0-magnitude quake struck in the epicenter city of Mino-Owari. It doesn’t appear to be close to measuring up to Japan’s most deadly earthquake ever, in 1923, when more than 143,000 people died following a 7.9-magnitude quake.

Here is a list of all of the largest notable earthquakes in Japan, via the USGS.

  • 1891/10/27 – Mino-Owari, Japan – M 8.0 Fatalities 7,273
  • 1896/06/15 – Sanriku, Japan – M 8.5 Fatalities 27,000
  • 1923/09/01 – Kanto (Kwanto), Japan – M 7.9 Fatalities 143,000
  • 1927/03/07 – Tango, Japan – M 7.6 Fatalities 3,020
  • 1933/03/02 – Sanriku, Japan – M 8.4 Fatalities 2,990
  • 1943/09/10 – Tottori, Japan – M 7.4 Fatalities 1,190
  • 1944/12/07 – Tonankai, Japan – M 8.1 Fatalities 1,223
  • 1945/01/12 – Mikawa, Japan – M 7.1 Fatalities 1,961
  • 1946/12/20 – Nankaido, Japan – M 8.1 Fatalities 1,330
  • 1948/06/28 – Fukui, Japan – M 7.3 Fatalities 3,769
  • 1964/06/16 – Niigata, Japan – M 7.5 Fatalities 26
  • 1995/01/16 – Kobe, Japan – M 6.9 Fatalities 5,502
  • 2000/10/06 – Western Honshu, Japan – M 6.7
  • 2003/05/26 – Near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 7.0
  • 2003/09/25 – Hokkaido, Japan Region – M 8.3
  • 2003/10/08 – Hokkaido, Japan Region – M 6.7
  • 2003/10/31 – Off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 7.0
  • 2004/05/29 – Off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 6.5
  • 2004/09/05 – Near the South Coast of Western Honshu, Japan – M 7.2
  • 2004/09/05 – Near the South Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 7.4
  • 2004/09/06 – Near the South Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 6.6
  • 2004/10/23 – Near the West Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 6.6 Fatalities 40
  • 2004/11/28 – Hokkaido, Japan Region – M 7.0
  • 2004/12/06 – Hokkaido, Japan Region – M 6.8
  • 2005/03/20 – Kyushu, Japan – M 6.6 Fatalities 1
  • 2005/07/23 – Near the South Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 5.9
  • 2005/08/16 – Near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 7.2
  • 2005/10/19 – Near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 6.3
  • 2005/11/14 – Off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 7.0
  • 2005/12/02 – Near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 6.5
  • 2006/06/11 – Kyushu, Japan – M 6.3
  • 2007/03/25 – Near the West Coast of Honshu,Japan – M 6.7 Fatalities 1
  • 2007/07/16 – Near the west coast of Honshu, Japan – M 6.6 Fatalities 9
  • 2008/05/07 – Near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 6.8
  • 2008/06/13 – Eastern Honshu, Japan – M 6.9 Fatalities 13
  • 2008/07/23 – Eastern Honshu, Japan – M 6.8 Fatalities 1
  • 2008/09/11 – Hokkaido, Japan region – M 6.8
  • 2009/08/09 – Near the South Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 7.1
  • 2009/08/10 – Near the South Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 6.1 Fatalities 1
  • 2009/08/12 – Izu Islands, Japan region – M 6.6
  • 2009/08/17 – Southwestern Ryukyu Islands, Japan – M 6.7
  • 2009/10/30 – Ryukyu Islands, Japan – M 6.8

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