Earthquake is a natural disaster which has caused immense damage to life and property. It has not only left thousands of people homeless, but also thrown millions of people in the gorge of death. Earthquakes affect many parts of the world directly and indirectly through the tsunami. The geological and locational variation of different countries is affected by earthquakes in different ways. Some countries being along the tectonic boundaries are affected more, while some are affected very rarely. There are countries which are hit by strong thrusts of earthquake for frequent times in year, while there are as many countries which are not affected at all. Keeping in view this variation in mind we have prepared a list of 10 most affected countries on the globe. Japan stand on the top in this list because of its geological location.
Japan stands No. 1 in Earthquake prone countries. Japan’s geological location made the Japanese Nation susceptible. Japan lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire is a tectonic boundary, where 90 percent of Earthquakes happens to occur. Moreover there are more than 500 active volcano in Japan, which are a major source of earthquakes. The mega-thrust earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, was the strongest earthquake of Japan’s history and this earthquake is included among the 5 major earthquakes since the seismograph started recording earthquakes. This earthquake triggered 33 ft high sea waves. This catastrophe demolished thousands of building, and thrown hundreds of thousands of lives into the gorge of death.
Nepal is a country full of disasters. Land sliding, epidemics and floods has ruined the country. Nepal is a land locked country and is situated in the heights of Himalaya, and there is no way to flee out of the threats of catastrophe. These disasters caused casualties for millions and death for the same number of people. It is located in the mid of the Himalaya mountains. Wide and deep geological studies states that Himalaya range is built as a result of convergent tectonic movement of Indian and Central Asian plates. These two great slabs of the Earth’s crust are converging at a relative rate of about 4-5 cm (two inches) a year. The upward climb of Everest and its sister mountains is accompanied by numerous tremors. Moreover, the remnants of a prehistoric lake, a 300 meter-deep layer of black clay, lies underneath the Kathmandu Valley. This augments the damage caused by severe earthquakes. Therefore, the region is susceptible to soil liquefaction. During strong quakes the solid ground turns into something like quicksand, swallowing everything above the ground. The April 2015 Nepal earthquake killed over 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000. The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing 21, making April 25, 2015 the deadliest day on the mountain in history.The tectonic movement is evenly continued. Hence the Geologists say that the major earthquakes are the result of tectonic movement, therefore Nepal being located along the tectonic boundaries is more impacted by this movement.
India stand 3rd in this list of most earthquake prone countries. India has experienced a series of some deadly earthquakes due to the movement of the Indian tectonic plate at the rate of 47 mm every year. Due to the movement of tectonic plates, India is prone to Earthquakes. India has been divided into five zones on the basis of peak ground accelerations. On December 26, 2004, in the third deadliest earthquake in the history of the world, which also triggered tsunami which killed more than 15,000 people in India. This earthquake lasted for 2 minutes and the magnitude of this earthquake reached 7.7. This was a terrible disaster in the history of India which killed more than 15,000 people and more than 200,000 people wounded. The 2001 Gujarat earthquake occurred on 26 January, India’s 52nd Republic Day. More than 400,000 buildings and houses were demolished.
Ecuador has series of active volcanoes which result in severe earthquakes and tremors. Ecuador lies between the South American plate and the Nazca plate and this seismic zone is a target of severe earthquakes. Earthquakes caused by the sub-duction interface along the plate boundary are common in Ecuador. Moreover some of the earthquakes are associated with the explosion of Volcano. On August 12, 2014, an Earthquake of 5.1 magnitude on the Richter scale had rattled Quito, which was followed by an aftershock of 4.3 magnitude. Although the death toll was very little, however Ecuador is frequently hit by earthquakes.
Lying on the edge of the Pacific plate, which is traditionally a seismic hot zone, severe earthquakes encircles the state. The most affected zone of Philippines in Manila. It is, of course, snug with the Pacific Ring of Fire, making it especially susceptible not only to quakes, but also to volcanic eruptions. More over the soft soil of Manila makes it more vulnerable. On October 15, 2013, an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 Richter scale had struck central Philippines. According to official reports by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 222 were reported dead, 8 were missing, and 976 people were injured. In all, more than 73,000 structures were damaged, of which more than 14,500 were totally destroyed. It was the deadliest earthquake in the Philippines in 23 years. It is estimated by Seismologists that the energy released by the quake was equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs.
The sixth earthquake prone country is Pakistan. It is geologically located in the Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone, which is roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front and is defined by an exposed Ophiolite chain along its southern margin. This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults. The magnitude 7.6 quake that struck the Kashmir region of Pakistan in October 2005 killed more than 73,000 people. Some area of urban population of Muzafarabad and Islamabad was also affected. More recently, in September 2013, a powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.7 Richter scale struck Balochistan Province, which had killed at least 825 people and injured hundreds of others.
07. El Salvador:
El Salvador is 7th earthquake prone country, and has suffered immense damage due to quakes in the region. The small Central American republic of El Salvador has experienced hundreds of earthquakes in last hundred year. Two major earthquakes occurred on 13 January and 13 February 2001, with magnitudes Magnitude 7.7 and Magnitude 6.6 respectively. The two incidents brought hundreds of deaths and casualties.
Mexico is another earthquake prone country, which has faced several earthquakes of high magnitudes in past few decades. Mexico is seismically very active region on the earth because of its location on three tectonic plates i.e Cocos plate, Pacific plate and the North American plate. The continuous and grinding motion of these plates causes earthquakes and volcanic activity. In 1985 an historic earthquake of magnitude 8.1 hit Mexico, which killed thousands of people in the blink of an eye.
We remember the August 17, 1999 earthquake of 7.7 magnitude which lasted for 37 seconds. It was strongest earthquake in the history of Turkey, which killed more than 70,000 people and demolished thousands of houses and buildings. Turkey lies on the seismic zone located between Arabian, Eurasian and African Plates. Turkey always remains trembled with earthquakes.
Indonesia is included in most vulnerable to earthquake countries. The most hot zone is the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta. There are two vulnerabilities of Jakarta: First it is situated on Pacific Ring of Fire and Second its large part is below the sea level. In 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake occurred on 26 December with the epicenter off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. In 2004 the subduction of Indian plate under the Burmese plate, created severe undersea upthrust. More than 230,000 people were killed in Indonesia and neighboring countries.