8.9 Japan quake fifth largest since 1900

Japan's biggest earthquake since records began hit the northeast coast today, triggering a 10-metre tsunami that inundated everything in its path.

Here is a factbox showing the 10 strongest earthquakes recorded since 1900, by order of magnitude.

May 22, 1960 - Chile - An earthquake of magnitude 9.5 struck Santiago and Concepcion, triggering tidal waves and volcanic eruptions. Some 5,000 people were killed and 2 million made homeless.

March 28, 1964 - Alaska - An earthquake and ensuing tsunami killed 125 people and caused about US$310 million ($414.29 million) in property loss. The magnitude 9.2 quake buffeted a large area of Alaska and parts of western Yukon Territory and British Columbia in Canada.

December 26, 2004 - Indonesia - A magnitude 9.1 quake struck off the coast of Aceh province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, setting off a tsunami that killed more than 226,000 people in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, India and nine other countries.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 generated a tsunami that reached the Hawaiian islands. No lives were lost.

March 11, 2011 - An 8.9 magnitude quake struck Japan, causing many injuries.

The US Geological Survey verified the quake at a depth of 15.1 miles and located it at 81 miles east of Sendai, on the main island of Honshu.

- The Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia all issued tsunami alerts, reviving memories of the giant tsunami which struck Asia in 2004. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued alerts for countries as far away as Colombia and Peru.

February 27, 2010 - Chile - An 8.8 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami in Chile killed more than 500 people and caused some $30 billion in damage, wrecking hundreds of thousands of homes and mangling highways and bridges.

January 31, 1906 - Ecuador - An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 struck off the coast of Ecuador and Colombia, generating a tsunami that killed up to 1,000 people. It was felt all along the coast of Central America and as far north as San Francisco and west to Japan.

February 4, 1965 - Alaska - An earthquake of magnitude 8.7 generated a tsunami reported to be about 35 feet (10.7 metres) high on Shemya Island.

March 28, 2005 - A magnitude 8.7 quake off Sumatra was estimated to have killed 1,300 people, many on Nias island off Sumatra's west coast.

March 9, 1957 - Alaska - An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.6 rattled the Andreanof Islands. On Umnak Island, Mount Vsevidof erupted after being dormant for 200 years, generating a 50-foot (15-metre) tsunami that continued to Hawaii.

August 15, 1950 - Tibet/India - Two thousand homes, temples and mosques were destroyed in a quake measuring magnitude 8.6. Hardest hit was the Brahmaputra Basin in northeast India. At least 1,500 people were killed.

View Magnitude 8.9 earthquake triggers huge tsunami in a larger map

- Wire agencies, NZ Herald staff

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