Great Earthquakes

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Great earthquakes are earthquakes with a magnitude equal to or larger than 8.0. A "typical" year has one or two great earthquakes, but some have had none and others have had more than two. The table below contains a list of the great earthquakes that we know of since 1900.

The distinction between a magnitude 7.9 and magnitude 8.0 is not all that substantial, so this is not a list of all the large earthquakes. Also, the farther back in time you go, the harder it is to produce a quality estimate of the magnitude, so this list is an approximate list of all the great earthquakes. The table is dynamic, you can sort by clicking on any of the column headings.

Please note that the locations for older events are approximate, and that all of these earthquakes rupture a substantial area of one or more faults, so the listed location is an estimate of where the fault slip began (the hypocenter). The depth of slip initiation is generally even less certain than the latitude and longitude. The earthquake actually affected a broader region around the indicated latitude and longitude.

Data Source: Modified from Data available from the US Geological Survey