Great Chilean Earthquake

the May 1960 earthquake in Chile

The Great Chilean Earthquake or Valdivian Earthquake was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. The quake occurred in the early afternoon (19:11 UTC) of May 22, 1960, and had a 9.5 rating[1] on the Moment magnitude scale. The earthquake affected southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

Damage to several houses in Chile after the earthquake

Its epicenter was Valdivia, Chile. The earthquake caused tsunamis that pounded the Chilean coastline with waves of up to 25 meters. The main tsunami traveled across the Pacific Ocean and caused great damage to Hilo, Hawaii. Waves as high as 10.7 meters (about 35 feet) were recorded 10,000 kilometers from where the earthquake started. These waves travelled as far as Japan and the Philippines.

The total number of deaths from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Chile has been estimated at 490 to 5700.[2] The Chilean government estimated 2 million people were left homeless and the damage was $550 million USD.[2]


  1. "M 9.5 - 1960 Great Chilean Earthquake (Valdivia Earthquake)". U.S. Geological Survey. U.S. Department of the Interior. November 7, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "May 22, 1960 Southern Chile Earthquake and Tsunami" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. U.S. Department of Commerce. March 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2019.

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