Tokyo tsunami one of the biggest in recent history

TOKYO - A 10-metre-high tsunami ploughed into the Japanese coast on Friday, dashing ships into the shore, washing away houses and leaving devastation in its wake.

The destructive wave, triggered by a massive 8.9-magnitude undersea quake just 130 kilometres off the coast, inundated large areas of farmland in northern Japan and set off Pacific-wide warnings.

Here is a chronology of some of the major quakes and tsunamis around the world since the Asian tsunami of December 2004 which left more than 220,000 dead in what was one of the world's worst natural disasters:

- December 26, 2004: SOUTHEAST ASIA - A 9.3-magnitude undersea quake off the coast of Sumatra island triggers a tsunami that kills 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia.

- July 17, 2006: INDONESIA - A 7.7-magnitude undersea quake strikes off Indonesia's Java island, unleashing a tsunami, killing at least 654.

- April 2, 2007: SOLOMON ISLANDS - An 8.0-magnitude quake in the Western Solomon Islands triggers a tsunami that kills 52 people and displaces thousands.

- September 29, 2009: SAMOA - A tsunami sparked by an 8.0-magnitude earthquake flattens villages and resorts in Samoa and the neighbouring Pacific islands of American Samoa and northern Tonga, killing more than 190 people.

- February 27, 2010: CHILE - An 8.8-magnitude earthquake rocks Chile, killing at least 521 people and leaving 56 missing. Most of the dead are in the coastal area of Maule, 400 kilometres (250 miles) south-west of the capital Santiago.

- October 25-26: INDONESIA - At least 112 people are killed and over 500 missing after a tsunami unleashed by a powerful 7.7 magnitude quake strikes off the island of Sumatra.

- March 11: JAPAN - An 8.9 undersea quake triggered a powerful tsunami that smashed into northern Japan. Reports put the size of the wave at as much as 10 metres (33 feet) in the port city of Sendai.

- AFP

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