History’s Most Destructive Earthquakes in Pictures



Image: copyright exp

Everybody knows that description of the feelings they often experience during intense lovemaking. How many of us have said that we ‘felt the earth move’, as we trembled in excitement. That statement is far more prophetic than you might ever have imagined, because somewhere on the planet, every thirty seconds of every day, an earthquake happens somewhere. Of the 1,000,000 quakes that happen every year, only 100 cause serious damage.

These movements in the Earth’s crust are caused by the continuous shifting of tectonic plates, huge land masses that are in constant motion, migrating across the face of the planet. The Pacific Plate is driving slowly under the North American Plate, right where the San Andreas fault line lies. In the Far East, much of the ground movement is caused by the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’, a huge circular area of intense volcanic activity.


Image: copyright exp

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 is the most famous in Western history, though by no means the most destructive or lethal ever recorded.

Seismic events, as earthquakes are scientifically called, can be so small as to pass completely unnoticed or catastrophic in their intensity. The destructive power of massive earthquakes makes we humans realise just how small and puny we are, utterly helpless in the face of nature’s most violent fits of temper. When they happen on a large scale they are awesome in their effects, and this is far more frequent than you can imagine.

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