The 1960 Valdivia earthquake on 22 May 1960 is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. Various studies have placed it at 9.4–9.6 on the moment magnitude scale. It occurred in the afternoon and lasted approximately 10 minutes. The resulting tsunami affected southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia, and the Aleutian Islands.
The epicenter of this megathrust earthquake was near Lumaco, approximately 570 kilometers south of Santiago, with Valdivia being the most affected city. The tremor caused localized tsunamis that severely battered the Chilean coast, with waves up to 25 meters.
Various estimates of the total number of fatalities from the earthquake and tsunamis have been published, ranging between 1,000 and 7,000 killed.
Featured Image: Residents of Valdivia, Chile, look over wrecked buildings on May 31, 1960 / Image: AP