The 8.9 monster quake that rocked Japan and is casting tsunamis across the Pacific is the seventh biggest in recorded history.
It is only slightly smaller than the 2004 Indonesian quake that killed 230,000 people.
The Richter scale measures seismographic oscillations and increases on a logarithmic scale.
8.7 -- Valparaiso, Chile -- July 8, 1730
The Valparaiso quake struck at 3:45 a.m. local time, but was preceded by a series of violent foreshocks causing people to vacate their homes so fatalities were minimal.
The tsunami following the quake was 48 feet high and 620 miles long.
Chile is home to the strongest earthquake ever recorded.
8.7 -- Lisbon, Portugal -- November 1, 1755
The Great Lisbon Earthquake occurred at 9:41 Saturday morning.
The quake caused tsunamis, and widespread fires helping the death tool reach up to 100,000 people.
The total population of Lisbon at the time was estimated to be not much more than 200,000.
It is the deadliest earthquake in human history.
8.7 -- Rat Islands, Alaska -- February 4, 1965
The Rat Islands are the southernmost islands in the Aleutians off the coast of Alaska and the quake struck at 9:01 p.m. local time.
The islands were lightly populated and caused very little damage though the ensuing tsunami, with waves cresting at 33 ft, was observed in northern Kauai, Hawaii, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, California, Japan and eastern Russia.
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