EARTHQUAKES occur when there is a movement within the earth's crust or volcanic action.
While some earthquakes are mild and cause minor damage, some are catastrophic.
What was the biggest earthquake in history?
Each year, there are thousands of earthquakes.
Some of the largest ones ever recorded happened during the 1950s and 2010s.
The biggest earthquake in history was the 1960 Valdivia earthquake, which lasted approximately 10 minutes.
With a magnitude of 9.5, it is estimated that around 2,000,000 people were left homeless due to the earthquake and the tsunami that soon followed.
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Four years later, the second largest earthquake occurred in Southern Alaska, registered at a magnitude of 9.2.
How many people died in the 1960 Valdivia earthquake?
The costs of the damages were estimated to be $550million, which would be more than $4.8billion today with inflation, according to National Geographic.
Around 3,000 people were injured in the event, and approximately 1,655 people lost their lives.
The tsunamis also affected coastal communities in New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii, and the Philippines.
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In the coastal town of Hilo, 61 people died due to tsunamis, National Geographic notes.
What causes an earthquake?
Earthquakes are caused by a sudden slip on a fault, the thin layer of crushed rock between the earth's crust.
"The tectonic plates are always slowly moving, but they get stuck at their edges due to friction," according to the United States Geological Survey.
"When the stress on the edge overcomes the friction, there is an earthquake that releases energy in waves that travel through the earth's crust and cause the shaking that we feel."
If an earthquake occurs suddenly, it is recommended to drop onto your hands and knees and seek shelter immediately to protect your head and neck.
It is also recommended to stay inside because that is where you are less likely to get injured.
More information about earthquake safety can be found here.
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