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This is one in a series of Fast Facts offered from the CNN Library giving a quick look at a person or topic in the news.

This is one in a series of Fast Facts offered from the CNN Library giving a quick look at a person or topic in the news.
USGS
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 9:44am

(CNN) -- Here's some background information about earthquakes worldwide.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, "an earthquake is the ground shaking caused by a sudden slip on a fault. Stresses in the earth's outer layer push the sides of the fault together. Stress builds up and the rocks slips suddenly, releasing energy in waves that travel through the earth's crust and cause the shaking that we feel during an earthquake."

Major Earthquakes since 2000: (selected timeline of earthquakes around the world with death tolls exceeding 100)

June 4, 2000 - A magnitude 7.9 earthquake strikes southern Sumatra, Indonesia, killing an estimated 103 people.

January 13, 2001 - A magnitude 7.7 earthquakes hits near San Miguel, El Salvador, killing an estimated 852 people.

January 26, 2001 - An estimated 20,000 people are killed by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake centered in Gujarat, India.

February 13, 2001 - Another earthquake strikes El Salvador, magnitude 6.6. Three hundred and fifteen people are estimated to have been killed.

June 23, 2001 - An estimated 138 people are killed in Peru by an 8.4 magnitude earthquake.

March 3, 2002 - In the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan, an estimated 166 people are killed by a magnitude 7.4 earthquake.

March 25, 2002 - Another earthquake in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan, this one a magnitude 6.1, kills 1,000 people.

June 22, 2002 - A magnitude 6.5 earthquake strikes western Iran, killing an estimated 261 people.

February 24, 2003 - In southern Xianjiang, China a magnitude 6.3 quake leaves an estimated 263 people dead.

May 1, 2003 - A 6.4 quake strikes eastern Turkey, killing approximately 177 people.

May 21, 2003 - An estimated 2,266 people are killed by a magnitude 6.8 quake in northern Algeria.

December 26, 2003 - A magnitude 6.6 earthquake strikes the city of Bam in southeast Iran. Around 31,000 people die in the quake.

February 24, 2004 - Approximately 631 people are killed in Morocco by a magnitude 6.4 quake.

December 26, 2004 - A magnitude 9.0 earthquake strikes off the west coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake and tsunamis generated by the earthquake kill 227,898 people in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Bangladesh. The quake released an amount of energy equal to a 100-gigaton bomb and lasted between 500-600 seconds.

February 22, 2005 - A magnitude 6.4 earthquake strikes central Iran, killing at least 612 people.

March 28, 2005 - A magnitude 8.7 earthquake strikes off the coast of Indonesia, on the same fault line that originated a Dec. 26 earthquake that launched a deadly tsunami. At least 1,300 people are killed.

October 8, 2005 - A magnitude 7.6 earthquake strikes Pakistan. At least 86,000 people are killed.

May 26, 2006 - A magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurs in central Java, Indonesia, killing at least 5,749 people.

July 17, 2006 - A magnitude 7.7 quake strikes Java, Indonesia, killing an estimated 730 people.

August 15, 2007 - A magnitude 8.0 earthquake hits Peru, about 100 miles south of the capital of Lima. Approximately 514 people are reported dead.

May 12, 2008 - A magnitude 7.9 earthquake strikes in central China. It is estimated that more than 87,000 people have been killed.

October 28, 2008 - A 6.4 magnitude earthquake strikes Pakistan, killing an estimated 166 people.

April 6, 2009 - A magnitude 6.3 earthquake strikes central Italy, killing 295 people.

September 29, 2009 - An 8.0 earthquake in the Samoa Islands kills approximately 192 people.

September 30, 2009 - A magnitude 7.6 earthquake strikes Sumatra, Indonesia, killing more than 1,000 people.

January 12, 2010 - A 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes 14 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. USAID estimates the death toll to be about 230,000, but other estimates are as high as 316,000.

February 27, 2010 - A 8.8 magnitude earthquake strikes central Chile, killing an estimated 547 people.

April 13, 2010 - A 6.9 magnitude earthquake strikes China's Qinghai province. Approximately 2,968 people are reported dead.

October 25, 2010 - At least 503 people die due to a magnitude 7.7 earthquake off Indonesia and a subsequent tsunami.

February 21, 2011 - A 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes Christchurch, New Zealand. An estimated 181 people are killed.

March 11, 2011 - A 9.0 magnitude earthquake strikes near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. The quake's epicenter was 231 miles away from Tokyo. The confirmed death toll is 15,880 as of February 28, 2013. (Japan National Police Agency)

September 18, 2011 - A magnitude 6.9 earthquake strikes Sikkim, India, killing an estimated 111 people.

October 23, 2011 - A 7.1-magnitude earthquake strikes eastern Turkey. The confirmed death toll is 604 people.

February 6, 2012 - A 6.7-magnitude earthquake strikes off the coast of Negros, Philippines, killing at least 113 people.

August 11, 2012 - Two earthquakes hit northern Iran. The first, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake strikes and 11 minutes later a second earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.3 hits. At least 306 people are killed.

November 07, 2012 - An 7.4 earthquake off the coast of Guatemala kills an estimated 139 people.

April 20, 2013 - An earthquake strikes the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, killing at least 192 people. The U.S. Geological Survey gauges it at 6.6-magnitude and the China Earthquake Networks Center estimates it at 7.0-magnitude.

September 24, 2013 - A magnitude 7.7 earthquake hits the Balochistan province of Pakistan. More than 300 people are reported killed.

Largest Earthquakes from 1900 to present: (from the U.S. Geological Survey)

May 22, 1960 - Chile, 9.5

March 28, 1964 - Prince William Sound, Alaska, 9.2

December 26, 2004 - Sumatra, Indonesia, 9.1

March 11, 2011 - Honshu, Japan, 9.0

November 4, 1952 - Kamchatka, Soviet Union, 9.0

February 27, 2010 - Chile, 8.8

January 31, 1906 - Ecuador, 8.8

February 4, 1965 - Rat Islands, Alaska, 8.7

April 11, 2012 - Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, 8.6

March 28, 2005 - Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, 8.6

August 15, 1950 - Assam - Tibet, 8.6

March 9, 1957 - Andreanof Islands, Alaska, 8.6

September 12, 2007 - Southern Sumatra, Indonesia, 8.5

February 1, 1938 - Banda Sea, Indonesia, 8.5

February 3, 1923 - Kamchatka, Soviet Union, 8.5

November 11, 1922 - Chile-Argentina Border, 8.5

October 13, 1963 - Kuril Islands, 8.5

Deadliest Earthquakes from 1900 to present: (from the U.S. Geological Survey)

January 12, 2010 - Haiti -- 316,000 killed (7.0). Other sources report 230,000.

July 27, 1976 - Tangshan, China - 242,769 killed (mag. 7.5)

December 26, 2004 - Sumatra, Indonesia - 227,898 killed in quake and resulting tsunami (9.1)

December 16, 1920 - Haiyuan, China - 200,000 killed (7.8)

September 1, 1923 - Kanto, Japan - 142,800 killed (7.9)

October 5, 1948 - Ashgabat, Turkmenistan - 110,000 killed (7.3)

May 12, 2008 - Eastern Sichuan, China - 87,587 killed (7.9)

October 8, 2005 - Pakistan - 86,000 (7.6)

December 28, 1908 - Messina, Italy - 72,000 (7.2)

May 31, 1970 - Chimbote, Peru - 70,000 killed (7.9)

June 20, 1990 - Rasht-Qazvin-Zanjan, Iran - 50,000 killed (7.4)

Average earthquakes per year: 8.0 or higher - 1 7.0 to 7.9 - 15 6.0 to 6.9 - 134 5.0 to 5.9 - 1319 4.0 to 4.9 - 13,000 (estimated) 3.0 to 3.9 - 130,000 (estimated) 2.0 to 2.9 - 1,300,000 (estimated)

Richter Scale: Invented in 1935 by Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg, of the California Institute of Technology.

After a seismograph recorded the amplitude of waves during an earthquake, Richter used a logarithm to determine the magnitude of the quake.

Each whole number increase on the scale, say from 5.0 to 6.0, represents a tenfold increase in amplitude and releases 32 times more energy.
 

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