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Chile earthquake one of the largest ever recorded

February 27, 2010 |  2:15 pm
Getprev Central Chile was hit by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, tearing apart houses, bridges and highways Saturday and sending a tsunami racing halfway around the world.

The magnitude 8.8 quake was felt as far away as Sao Paulo in Brazil — 1,800 miles to the east. The full extent of damage remained unclear as scores of aftershocks — one nearly as powerful as Haiti's devastating Jan. 12 earthquake — shuddered across the disaster-prone Andean nation.

Past South American earthquakes have had deadly effects across the Pacific.

Hawaii In 1960, a magnitude 9.5 quake struck Chile. It was the largest earthquake ever recorded and caused a tsunami that killed about 140 people in Japan, 61 in Hawaii and 32 in the Philippines.

Here is a list of the world's strongest earthquakes that registered at least magnitude 8.6.

May 22, 1960: A magnitude 9.5 earthquake in southern Chile and ensuing tsunami kills at least 1,716 people.

March 27, 1964: A magnitude 9.2 quake in Prince William Sound, Alaska, and an ensuing tsunami kill 128 people.

Dec. 26, 2004: A magnitude 9.1 quake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra triggers a tsunami that kills 226,000 people in 12 countries, including 165,700 in Indonesia and 35,400 in Sri Lanka, and reaches as far as Somalia.

Aug. 13, 1868: A magnitude 9.0 quake in Arica, Peru, (now Chile) generates catastrophic tsunamis; more than 25,000 people are killed in South America.
Jan. 26, 1700: A magnitude 9.0 quake shakes Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Colombia and triggers a tsunami that damages villages in Japan.

Nov. 4, 1952: A magnitude 9.0 quake in Kamchatka causes damage but no reported deaths, despite setting off 30-foot waves in Hawaii.

Jan. 31, 1906: A magnitude 8.8 quake off the coast of Ecuador and Colombia generate a tsunami that kills at least 500 people.

Feb. 27, 2010: A magnitude 8.8 quake off the coast of Chile kills at least 82, with the toll expected to rise, and sends a tsunami across the Pacific.

Nov. 1, 1755: A magnitude 8.7 quake and ensuing tsunami in Lisbon, Portugal, kills an estimated 60,000 people and destroys much of Lisbon.

July 8, 1730: A magnitude 8.7 quake in Valparasio, Chile, kills at least 3,000 people.

Aug. 15, 1950: A magnitude 8.6 earthquake centered in Assam, India, kills at least 780 people in the region.

— Associated Press

Sources: U.S. Geological Survey, Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology and WHO's International Disaster Database

Photos: Residents look at a collapsed building in Concepcion, Chile. Credit: Associated Press. 1960 file photo shows residents in Hilo, Hawaii, viewing damage from a tsunami. Credit: Associated Press.