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Japan earthquake becomes fifth-strongest since 1900

When the earth shook off the coast of Japan on Friday, the magnitude 8.9

quake

became the fifth strongest since 1900.

According to records kept by the U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Information Center, the largest quake remains the one in

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Chile
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in 1960 that measured 9.5. That was followed by the 1964 quake in Prince William Sound,

Alaska

, at 9.2; the 2004 quake off of Sumatra, at 9.1; and the 1952 quake in Kamchatka, a peninsula in eastern Russia near the Bering Sea, at 9.0.

Friday’s quake is followed by the 2010 quake in Chile, at 8.8; a 1906 quake in Ecuador, at 8.8; a 1965 quake off Rat Islands, Alaska, at 8.7; and a 2005 quake in northern Sumatra, at 8.6. Magnitude does not always predict the level of damage.

For example, the deadliest quake in history is believed to be 8.0. It was in Shaanxi, in China, in 1556. Approximately 830,000 people died in the quake, according to historical records.

Michael.muskal@twitter.com

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