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This photo taken on September 29, 2009 after an 8.0-magnitude quake and tsunami struck in the early morning offshore shows damage in Pago Pago, on American Samoa. The huge earthquake churned up a giant tsunami that devastated the Samoa islands.


These are five of the largest earthquakes recorded since 1900. The order in which they appear is based on the overall magnitude of the quake.

On May 22, 1960, an earthquake measuring 9.5 on the Richter Scale - the largest ever recorded - rocked the southern coast of Chile. Nearly 1,700 people died as a result of the quake and ensuing tsunamis. Vibrations were felt as far away as Hawaii, Japan and coastal California.

On March 28, 1964, Prince William Sound Alaska was the site of a the largest earthquake recorded in North America. The quake occurred on Good Friday and lasted anywhere from three to five minutes. 15 people died as a direct result of the quake, while an additional 113 perished in the ensuing tsunami. The quake was felt in parts of the Yukon and British Columbia.

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On Dec. 26, 2004, the deadliest earthquake occurred of the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Measuring 9.1, this quake was responsible for the catastrophic tsunami that destroyed areas of South Asia and East Africa. Approximately 228,000 people were reported killed or missing and an additional 1.7 million people were displaced.

On Nov. 4, 1952, an earthquake off the east coast of Russia, measuring 9.0, generated a tsunami that struck a number of Hawaiian islands. No lives were lost.

On Jan. 31, 1906, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 occurred off the coast of Ecuador and Columbia. The quake generated a deadly tsunami that killed nearly 1,000 people, and was felt along the coast of Central America and as far north as San Francisco.

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