Backgrounder: Powerful earthquakes worldwide since beginning of 2010

11:32, April 14, 2010      

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A series of strong and massive earthquakes hit countries across the globe in the past months. The following is a list of some strong and major ones since the beginning of this year:

Jan. 12 -- A devastating 7.3-magnitude earthquake leveled much of the Haitian capital city of Port-au-Prince and its vicinity, the worst in the recent 200 years of the Caribbean country's history.

The catastrophe killed some 270,000 people and directly affected 1.5 million others. Over 500,000 people fled the capital for shelter elsewhere in the island nation. Damage and loss were estimated at about 7 billion U.S. dollars or more than 120 percent of Haiti's 2009 gross domestic product.

Feb. 27 -- A destructive 8.8-magnitude megaquake and ensuing tsunamis tore up roads and towns in central and southern regions of Chile, the biggest since 1950 in the country's history. The disaster killed about 500 people and caused an estimated 30 billion U.S. dollars worth of damage to infrastructure, houses and industry.

Feb. 28 -- A 6.2-magnitude aftershock hit central Chile, just a day after the massive quake that threw the country into panic.

March 4 -- A 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Antofagasta in northern Chile ahead of the country's three-day national mourning period for the victims of Feb. 27 massive tremor. The quake was felt in the northern areas, causing panic among citizens, but brought no risk of tsunami. It was not an aftershock of the Feb. 27 megaquake, according to Chile's National Emergency Office.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit China's Taiwan.

March 5 -- A strong 6.6-magnitude aftershock struck the Bio bio region in central Chile without a tsunami alert after seven aftershocks above 5-magnitude in the past 12 hours.

March 6 -- A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Sumatra, Indonesia, in the small hours with epicenter at 4.0 degrees south latitude and 100.8 degrees east longitude and a depth of 20 km.

March 8 -- A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit Elazig province in eastern Turkey, killing at least 38 people and injuring dozens of others.

March 11 -- Three aftershocks with the first measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale and two miler ones rattled Chile within 25 minutes as the country swore in the new president. Mobile phone services were disrupted and fixed phone lines were cut by the quake, but no deaths or strong damage were reported.

March 14 -- An earthquake of 6.6-magnitude jolted northeastern Japan with no tsunami damage. The focus of the quake was located some 40 km under the sea east of Fukushima Prefecture. The seismic waves spread to neighboring Miyagi, Tochigi, Iwate, Aomori and Akita Prefectures. Tremors were also felt in most buildings in Tokyo.

On the same day, a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 rocked eastern parts of Indonesia, with no tsunami warning and reports of damage or casualties.

March 15 -- An aftershock of 6.7-magnitude hit near the coast of Concepcion, Chile shortly before midnight, terrible enough to deprive many of shut-eye. The ensuing blackout plunged the city into darkness a day after a massive power outage affected most of the country. The aftershock was one of over 200 that rocked the South American nation since the Feb. 27 tragedy.

March 25 -- A 6.2-magnitude quake hit Metro Manila, the Philippine capital.

March 26-28 -- Two aftershocks shook Chile, measuring 6.2 and 6.1 magnitude respectively. The country was made sleepless due to waves of aftershocks since the Feb. 27 megaquake.

March 30 -- A strong earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck the Andaman Sea off Myanmar, with no destructive tsunami warning.



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