The strongest earthquake took place in Chile on May 22, 1960. It measured 9.5 on the Richter scale, which is used by seismologists (scientists who study earthquakes) to determine the magnitude of earthquakes. The Richter scale was named after American seismologist Charles Richter (1900– ). The scale has graded steps beginning with 1 and ending with 10. Each step is about 60 times greater than the preceding step. In the Chile earthquake 2,000,000 people were left homeless, 5,000 were injured, and 2,000 more died. The quake caused tidal waves, which killed 61 people in Hawaii, 138 people in Japan, and 32 in the Philippines. Damage totaled $550,000,000. In 1964 a quake measuring 8.4 hit Anchorage, Alaska, taking 131 lives.
Further Information: Aviles, Peter. "Nature: The Devil's Scream." The Earthquake of the Century. [Online] Available http://www.pr-connection.com/Nature.htm, November 1, 2000; Dixon, Dougal. Natural Disasters. New York: Reader's Digest Books, 1997, pp. 34–51; McGeary, Johanna. "Buried Alive." Time. August 30, 1999, pp. 25–31.