Major earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, geology and mining
Page last modified 15/12/2019
North West Europe
Mediterranean (Spain – Turkey)
Himalayas (Syria – China)
South Eastern Pacific (Chile – Mexico)
North Eastern Pacific (USA Canada Alaska)
British geology, earthquakes etc (British Geological Survey), http://www.bgs.ac.uk/discoveringGeology/hazards/earthquakes/UK.html#timeline
UK vertical change map, https://www.geomaticventures.com/uk-map
See Cartography for geological maps
26/11/2019, A magnitude 6.4 quake hit Albania, killing at least 21 and injuring 600. There had been an earlier magnitude 5.6 quake in Albania in September.
5/7/2019, A magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit California, the day after a magnitude 6.4 tremor in the same area.
28/9/2018, An earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia, killed over 1,640 people.
21/8/2018, A magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit northern Venezuela.
5/8/2018, A magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit Lombok Island, Philippines. 321 people were killed, 1,033 seriously injured and 270,000 left homeless. Earlier, on 29/7/2018, a magnitude 6.4 quake had also hit Lombok.
3/6/2018, The Fuego volcano in Guatemala began erupting. After two days, mudslides had killed 25 and injured 250.
3/5/2018, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano began an intensive eruption, which continued throughout May.
17/2/2018, A magnitude 4.4 earthquake occurred near Swansea. It was felt across England from the Isle of Wight to the Lake District.
12/11/2017, A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck just after midnight close to Halabja near the Iran-Iraq border. At least 530 people were killed and 8,000 injured.
19/9/2017, A magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit central Mexico, killing 248.
7/9/2017, The most powerful earthquake for more than a century struck Tapachula, southern Mexico. The magnitude 8.2 quake killed at least 96 people.
8/8/2017, A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Sichuan province, China, killing 19 and injuring 247.
21/7/2017, A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Bodrum, SW Turkey.
18/1/2017, Four further earthquakes of magnitudes 5.3, 5.7, 5.3 and 5.1 hit central Italy, close to the site of last year’s quakes. The epicentre was about 130 km NE of Rome, where the tremors were felt. The earthquake was blamed for a snow avalanche that killed 30 tourists at a hotel in eastern-central Italy.
30/10/2016, A magnitude 6.6 shallow (10km) earthquake hit central Italy; this was the 4th significant quake there in four months. Further damage was done to historic buildings but no fatalities were reported.
24/8/2016, A shallow magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck the Umbria region of central Italy.247 people were killed.
17/4/2016, A magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit Tonga.
16/4/2016, The second of two earthquakes hit Japan; the first was on 14/4/2016, magnitude 6.2, on the southern island of Kyushu; 44 died. The second quake was magnitude 7.0, also on Kyushu. Also on 16/4/2016 the most powerful quake for 70 years hit Ecuador, magnitude 7.8, killing over 500 and injuring 4,000.
6/2/2016, A shallow magnitude 6.4 quake hit Taiwan; 38 people died.
26/10/2015, A magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit eastern Afghanistan, killing over 200 people.
12/5/2015, A second powerful earthquake hit Nepal. The 7.3 magnitude tremor struck 80 kilometres north east of Kathmandu, inuring over 1,000 people.
25/4/2015, Earthquake in Nepal killed 7,500 and injured 14,000. The magnitude 7.9 quake struck 80 kilometres north west of Kathmandu.
14/10/2014, A magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit El Salvador and Nicaragua.
11/7/2014, A magnitude 4.6 earthquake hit Jersey, Channel Islands; the largest quake in the area since a 5.6 magnitude tremor hit Guernsey in 1926.
2/4/2014, A magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit just off the coast of northern Chile. Casualties were few as the resultant tsunami was small.
11/8/2013, Two magnitude 6.4 earthquakes hit Tabriz and Ahar, Iran, killing 153 people.
16/4/2013, Earthquake in Khash province, Iran, magnitude 7.8, killed 38.
9/4/2013, Magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit Iran, killing 37 people.
5/12/2012, A magnitude 5.8 earthquake in South Korea killed 6.
11/11/2012, A magnitude 6.8 earthquake killed 12 people in Myanmar.
7/11/2012, Magnitude 7.3 earthquake in Guatemala killed 48 people.
29/5/2012, A magnitude 5.9 earthquake killed 24 people near Bologna, Italy.
11/4/2012, A magnitude 8.6 earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia.
6/2/2012, A magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit the Philippines, killing 43 people.
23/10/2011, A magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit the city of Van, eastern Turkey.
23/8/2011, A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Virginia on August 23, 2011, near Mineral. The earthquake was reportedly felt as far away as Toronto, Canada, Atlanta, Georgia and Florida
4/6/2011, Puyehue Volcano in Chile erupted, causing major flight chaos as far as Australia.
11/3/2011, Japan was hit by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake and tsunami. 15,340 people were killed, and a further 3,926 were missing. The nuclear plant at Fukushima was badly damaged.
22/2/2011, Christchurch, New Zealand, was hit by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake; 185 people died.
26/10/2010, Mount Merapi volcano in Indonesia began erupting.
25/10/2010, Earthquake off Sumatra killed 400 and caused a tsunami.
4/9/2010, Magnitude 7/.1 earthquake near Christchurch, New Zealand.
14/4/2010, Mount Eyjafjallajokul in Iceland erupted; volcanic ash caused major disruption to European air travel.
13/4/2010, A 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Qinghai, China, killed over 2,000.
27/2/2010, A magnitude 8.8 earthquake hit Chile, killing 525.
12/1/2010, A 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the most severe in 200 years, hit Haiti, killing over 316,000 and destroying the capital, Port au Prince. Over 1,000,000 were left homeless.
29/9/2009, An 8.3 magnitude earthquake hit Samoa.
6/4/2009, Magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit L’Aquila, Italy. 300 were killed and 1,500 injured.
29/10/2008, A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Quetta, Pakistan
6/10/2008, A magnitude 6.6 earthquake killed 65 in Kyrgzystan.
14/6/2008, A 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Iwate, Japan, killed 12 and injured 400.
12/5/2008, A magnitude 7.9 earthquake hit Sichuan Province, central China, killing 156,000 people, and injuring 290,000. 5 million were made homeless.
4/2008, A 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit Kent, England.
14/11/2007, A magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit Tocopilla, northern Chile
15/8/2007, A magnitude 8.0 earthquake hit Peru, killing 512 and injuring over 1,500.
28/4/2007, A magnitude 4.3 earthquake hit Folkestone, Kent, damaging around 200 houses.
2/4/2007, An 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit the Solomon Islands. 52 died and 6,000 were left homeless.
27/5/2006, A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit central Java, killing over 6,000, injuring 36,000, leaving 1.5 million homeless.
4/11/2005, Severe aftershocks, up to 6.3 on the Richter Scale, hit northern Pakistan.
8/10/2005, A 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Kashmir, killing around 74,000.
17/6/2005, A magnitude 6.7 earthquake, following on from a 5.3 quake the previous day, became the fourth quake since 12/6/2005 in California.
20/4/2005, A magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit Fukuoka and Kasuga, in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan 56 people were injured.
28/3/2005, A magnitude 8.7 earthquake hit Sumatra, 3 months after the 2004 Indian Ocean quake. It was the second largest quake since 1965.
20/3/2005, A magnitude 7 earthquake struck west of Kyushu Island, Japan. 250 were injured and at least one died.
22/2/2005, A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit the Zarand region of Kermand Province, southern Iran, killing 50 and injuring 1,000.
26/12/2004, A very large earthquake struck the floor of the Indian Ocean just off Aceh Province, Indonesia. It was estimated as magnitude 9.3 on the Richter Scale, and shifted parts of the sea bed vertically by ten metres. It caused a very large tsunami to sweep across the Indian Ocean, causing at least 165,000 casualties. In January 2005 the Indonesian government raised its death toll to 166,320, bringing the total estimated number of casualties to 232,010. The confirmed death toll on 18/1/05 stood at 162,705, including 115,229 from Indonesia, 30,920 from Sri Lanka, 10,714 from India, 5,291 from Thailand, 298 from Somalia, 82 from the Maldives, 68 from Malaysia, 10 from Tanzania, 2 from Bangladesh, and 1 from Kenya. The secretive military regime in Burma reported just 90 deaths, a suspiciously low figure. Many tourists from Europe, who had been on winter holidays, died, including at least 400 Britons (possibly 2,000 Britons).
24/2/2004, A magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco, near the city of Al Hoceima, killing over 400 there. A further 500 were killed in Ait Kamara.
26/12/2003. Earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale hit Bam, SE Iran. Over 25,000 killed and 30,000 injured.
14/8/2003, A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit the Greek Ionian island of Lefkada, injuring 24.
21/5/2003, A major earthquake hit Algeria, killing over 2,000.
19/10/2002. A series of minor but noticeable earthquakes hit Manchester, causing some damage to roofs and chimneys.
25/3/2002, A major earthquake hit Afghanistan, killing 1,800.
17/1/2002, Mount Nyiragongo in the Congo erupted, displacing some 400,000 people.
28/2/2001, A magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit the Nisqually Valley area of Washington State. One elderly person died of a heart attack.
13/2/2001, A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit El Salvador, killing at least 400.
26/1/2001, 25,000 were killed and one million left homeless by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in the western Indian city of Gujerat.
13/1/2001, A magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit El Salvador.
28/5/2000. The volcano Mount Cameroon erupted.
12/11/1999, A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Duzce, north-west Turkey, killing 845 and injuring 4,948.
21/9/1999, Central Japan was hit by an earthquake; 2,400 were killed.
7/9/1999, A magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit Athens, killing 143 people and injuring over 2,000.
17/8/1999. 17,800 killed as an earthquake hit the Turkish cities of Izmit and Istanbul. The quake measured 7.4 on the Richter Scale. 17,000 were killed and 44,000 injured.
25/1/1999, A magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit western California, killing over 1,000 people.
30/5/1998, A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit northern Afghanistan, killing 5,000 people.
25/3/1998, A magnitude 8.1 earthquake was recorded in Antarctica, near Balleny Island. This was not attributable to fault activity and may have been caused by glacial rebound.
14/3/1998, A magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit south eastern Iran.
4/2/1998, A 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit north-east Afghanistan, killing over 5,000 people.
10/1/1998, An earthquake in China killed 50 and injured 10,000.
10/5/1997, An earthquake near Ardekul, north east Iran, killed over 2,400 people.
30/12/1986, The use of canaries in UK coal mines was discontinued.
22/11/1995, A magnitude 7.2 quake hit Israel, Egypt, and was felt over much of the Mediterranean and North Africa.
8/7/1995, Volcanic eruption began on the island of Montserrat.
28/5/1995, Neftegorsk, Russia, was hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that killed 2,000 people, 2/3 of the town’s population.
13/5/1995, A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit the Greek Macedonian city of Kozani; nobody was injured.
17/1/1995. 5.46 am, local time, earthquake in Kobe, southern Japan, killed 6,433, and injured 27,000. The quake measured 7.2 on the Richter Scale and made 300,000 homeless. Cost of damage was estimated at £63 billion. It was the worst quake to hit Japan since Tokyo, 1923.
17/1/1994. A magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit Northridge in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles.
12/12/1993, An earthquake hit Flores, Indonesia, killing 2,200.
30/9/1993. Earthquake in southwest India killed 10,000.
12/7/1993, A magnitude 7.8 earthquake off Hokkaido caused a major tsunami to hit Okushuri island, killing 202 people.
12/12/1992. An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale hit just offshore from Flores Island, Indonesia. At least 1,500 were killed as 80% of the buildings in the island’s capital, Maumere, were destroyed.
12/10/1992. Earthquake hit Cairo. It was 5.9 on the Richter scale, with an epicentre 19 miles from Cairo, tremors were felt in Jerusalem 250 miles away. There was panic as at least 160 buildings collapsed and many were trampled to death in the ensuing chaos. Fortunately the Aswan Dam was not breached.
28/6/1992. California had its strongest earthquake for 40 years. Measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale, the epicentre was in a sparsely-populated area of the Mojave Desert, 100 miles from Los Angeles, and the only casualty was a child killed by a falling chimney.
13/4/1992, An earthquake rocked Roermond in The Netherlands, along the Peel fault.
13/3/1992. A major quake in eastern Turkey, 6.8 on the Richter scale, killed an estimated 1,000 people.
20/10/1991, Magnitude 7.0 earthquake in northern Italy, killed 2,000 people.
17/6/1991. Mount Pinatubo continued to erupt. On 24/6/1991 Mount Didicas, 280 miles north-east of Mount Pinatubo, also erupted, killing 343 people.
9/6/1991. Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted. 500,000 people had to be evacuated as the USA’s biggest overseas air base, Clark Naval Base, was threatened. Manila was covered 30 cm deep in volcanic ash.
1/2/1991. An earthquake in Pakistan killed 1,500 people.
16/7/1990. A major earthquake hit the Philippines. Measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale, it was the worst for 14 years. It hit 60 miles north of the capital, Manila. 1,600 people were killed.
21/6/1990. Earthquake hit Iran, 7.7 on the Richter scale, destroyed towns across 100 square miles of Gilan Province, NW Iran. Over 40,000 died and 100,000 were injured.
2/4/1990. An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter Scale hit the UK.
28/12/1989, A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit Newcastle, New South Wales, killing 13 people and injuring 100.
18/10/1989. San Francisco was hit by the Loma Prieta earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale. At least 273 people were killed and 650 injured. Many of the deaths occurred when the top deck of the Nimitz Freeway collapsed onto a lower road deck, crushing motorists.
10/12/1988. Severe earthquake, 6.9 on the Richter scale, hit Armenia. 100,000 were reported to have died as the cities of Spitak and Leninakan were flattened. However the death toll was later reduced to 25,000. 15,000 were injured and 400,000 left homeless.
1/10/1987, A 20-second earthquake hit Los Angeles, killing 7 and injuring 100. The 6.1 magnitude quake hit the morning rush hour at 7.40 am, and was the strongest in the area since 1971.
10/10/1986, An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale hit San Salvador, killing some 1,500 people.
21/8/1986, Volcanic activity around Lake Nyos, Africa, caused nearly 2,000 people to die from CO2 poisoning.
13/11/1985. Nevado del Ruiz, a volcano in Colombia, dormant since 1845, erupted, sending mudflows down into the town of Armero, killing almost all the population of 25,000.
30/9/1985, Charles Richter, the US seismologist who devised the Richter Scale, died.
19/9/1985, Major earthquake in Mexico resulted in 4,700 dead and 30,000 injured. The quake measured 8.1 on the Richter Scale, killing 9,000 people and injuring a further 30,000. 95,000 were made homeless. A second quake the following day hampered rescue operations.
4/9/1983, Earthquake at Pozzuoli, Naples, caused major panic, as people feared another eruption of nearby Vesuvius.
24/2/1981, Just before 11am local time, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit Athens. 16 people died, mainly due to heart attacks. The epicentre was in the eastern Corinthian Gulf, near the Alkyonides Islands, 60 km west of Athens. A further aftershock, magnitude 6.4, hit that afternoon, causing further damage in nearby towns.
23/11/1980, A series of earthquakes in southern Italy killed 4,800 people.
24/10/1980, A magnitude 6.4 earthqquake in Oaxaca, Mexico, killed 300.
11/10/1980, The Algerian city of El Asnam (formerly Orleansville) was hit by a major earthquake; 80% of the city was destroyed and 20,000 died. The magnitude 7.5 quake was felt as far away as Spain, where it cracked houses in Valencia. The previous quake here was in 1954.
18/5/1980. Mount St Helens volcano erupted in the USA state of Washington, killing 100 people and causing US$ 3 billion in damage. A cloud of ash 2,500 miles long and 1,000 miles wide was created.
16/9/1978. 25,000 died in a quake in Iran measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale around the town of Tabas.
20/6/1978, A magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city. An apartment block in the central district of Ippodrome collapsed, killing over 40 people.
19/8/1977, Earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia.
21/6/1977, Bruce Charles Heezen, US oceanographer and geologist, died near Reykjanes, Iceland.
4/3/1977, Earthquake in Bucharest, magnitude 7.2, killed 1,500 people and injured 7,600.
24/11/1976. The Turkish province of Van was devastated by an earthquake, and 3,700 people were killed.
17/8/1976. In the Philippines a severe earthquake followed by tidal waves killed over 3,000 people.
28/7/1976. One of the greatest natural disasters of the 20th century occurred when an earthquake, magnitude 7.8, hit Tangshan in China, killing 255,000 – 750,000 people. At least 164,000 were injured.
6/5/1976. Major earthquake in northern Italy killed 2,000.
4/2/1976. A major earthquake devastated parts of Guatemala and Honduras, killing over 23,000 people.
6/9/1975. A major earthquake in Lice, Turkey, killed nearly 3,000 people.
28/12/1974, An earthquake in northern Pakistan killed over 5,000 people.
11/5/1974. Big earthquake killed 20,000 in Sichuan, China.
28/8/1973. 500 killed in Mexican earthquake magnitude 6.2.
23/1/1973. 5,000 evacuated from the island of Heimay in Iceland as volcano erupted.
25/12/1972. In Managua, Nicaragua, over 10,000 people were killed in an earthquake.
10/4/1972. Earthquakes in Iran killed over 3,000 people.
5/4/1971, A 70-day eruption of Mount Etna, lasting until 14/6/1971, began.
10/2/1971, An earthquake, 6.6 on the Richter Scale, hit Los Angeles, killing 51 people.
31/5/1970. A major earthquake, magnitude 7.5, at Mount Huascaran in Peru, killed 70,000 people.
4/4/1970, A series of earthquakes in western Turkey killed 1,000 and left 90,000 homless, mainly around the town of Gediz.
2/9/1968. A major earthquake in Iran killed over 20,000 people.
29/7/1967,An earthquake in Caracas, Venezuela killed 240.
19/8/1966, Earthquake in eastern Turkey killed 2,000.
20/9/1965, Arthur Holmes, English geologist, died in London.
3/5/1965, Major earthquake hit San Salvador City, El Salvador.
28/3/1965. Major earthquake in Chile.
6/7/1964, Magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Guerrero, Mexico, killing 78.
27/3/1964, Powerful earthquake, magnitude 9.2, hit southern Alaska, 300 died.
14/11/1963. The island of Surtsey, off Iceland, was born as an undersea volcano erupted.
26/7/1963. Big earthquake hit Skopje, Yugoslavia, killing 1,100. 150,000 were left homeless.
17/3/1963. A volcano erupted in Bali, killing 11,000.
1/9/1962, Severe earthquake hit Iran, killing 20,000.
10/10/1961, A volcanic eruption on the southern Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha forced the evacuation of the entire population to Britain.
21/5/1960, Conception, Chile, was hit by an earthquake that killed 1,000 people and damaged 145,000 buildings,
28/2/1960. Agadir, Morocco, was devastated by an earthquake, killing 12,000.
17/8/1959, Hebgen Lake earthquake, Yellowstone National Park, USA, 7.2 magnitude; 28 died in landslides.
28/7/1957, Magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck Guerrero, Mexico, killing 65.
22/3/1957. San Francisco was hit by the worst earthquake since the 1906 disaster.
1956, Earthquake struck Thira, killing over 40 and leaving thousands homeless.
9/9/1954. Earthquake in Algeria killed 1,500 in the city of Orleansville.
21/1/1951, Mount Lamington, Papua New Guinea, erupted; at the time it was not realised that it was an extinct volcano. 3,000 died as hot ash clouds smothered the area.
1948, Earthquake in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan; 100,000 died.
1/4/1946, Major earthquake in the Aleutian Islands.
15/1/1944, Major earthquake hit San Juan province, Argentina.
2/1943, A new volcano appeared at Paracutin, Mexico, erupting through cornfields and growing to a height of 820 feet.
26/12/1939, 40,000 killed in Erzincan, Turkey, by a magnitude 8.0 quake.
24/1/1939. In Chile, a major earthquake killed 30,000 in two cities.
18/12/1936, Andrija Mohorovicic, Croatian geologist, died in Zagreb.
1935, The Richter Scale for measuring the intensity of earhbquakes was devised by US geologist Charles Richter.
30/5/1935. More than 50,000 died in a magnitude 7.6 quake in Quetta (then India, now Pakistan).
2/10/1934, A magnitude 6 earthquake hit San Francisco, USA.
26/12/1932, Earthquake in China killed 70,000.
3/6/1932, Magnitude 8.1 earthquake in Jalisco, Mexico, killed 400.
3/2/1932. A severe earthquake hit New Zealand killing 256 people around Hawke’s Bay. Napier’s Bluff Hill, a substantial suburban peninsula, crumbled into the sea. A wide stretch of seabed, Ahuriri Lagoon, was raised in the quake and became 9,000 acres of dry land in a day.
7/6/1931, Earthquake felt across Britain.
23/7/1930, Earthquake in southern Italy; 1,700 killed.
5/11/1928. Mount Etna erupted.
22/4/1928. Earthquake in Corinth left 50,000 homeless.
16/10/1927, The first remnant of Peking Man, a tooth, was found by paleontologist Anders Birger Bohlin at Chou K'ou Tien (Zhoukoudian), under sponsorship of Davidson Black, who gave it the scientific name Sinanthropus pekinensis. More remains would be discovered over the next ten years, and reclassified as Homo erectus pekinensis, estimated to be more than 300,000 years old.
22/5/1927, Earthquake in China killed 200,000.
27/11/1926. Vesuvius erupted.
1/9/1923. An earthquake magnitude 7.9 in Japan left the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama in ruins and killed over 300,000 people. The epicentre was just outside Tokyo. Half of Tokyo’s houses were destroyed, a million of its people made homeless, and 132,807 killed in Tokyo alone. Altogether 143,000 died and 2.5 million were made homeless.
15/6/1923. Earthquake in Iran killed 20,000.
16/12/1920. Earthquake in Kamsu, China, killed 180,000.
3/1/1920, Earthquake magnitude 7.8 in Vera Cruz, Mexico, killed 648.
11/10/1918, In Puerto Rico a major earthquake had an estimated magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale.
20/5/1918, Severe earthquake in Chile.
29/12/1917, Earthquake in Guatemala City made 125,000 homeless.
1916, A Michelson, US scientist, determined that the Earth has a molten core.
1915, In Germany, Alfred Wegener published his theory of drifting continental plates. Initially, nobody else believed an entire continent could move. Evidence for Wegener’s theory emerged in the 1950s and 60s when fossil magnetism was observed in rocks, with a different alignment to today.
30/6/1915, Elso Sterrenberg Barghoorn was born in New York City, USA. In 1954 he discovered, with Stanley A Tyler, very ancient fossils in Gunflint chert in the Canadian shield. These fossils of bacteria and algae were estimated at 2 billion years old.
13/1/1915. An earthquake killed 20,000 in central Italy.
9/5/1914. Earthquake killed over 150 in Catania, Italy.
26/4/1914, Eduard Suess, Austrian geologist, died in Marz, Burgenland.
12/5/1913, William Maurice Ewing was born in Lockney, Texas. In 1935 he began a seismic study of the seabed using refractions of waves from explosions.
9/8/1912. Earthquake in Constantinople, Turkey, killed 6,000.
6/6/1912, A huge volcanic eruption began at Mount Katmai, Alaska, creating the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Two cubic miles of rock was turned into dust and ash, and the volcvano’s height was reduced by 1,500 feet.
4/1/1912, Clarence Edward Dutton, US geologist, died in Eaglewood, New Jersey.
11/10/1911. Earthquake in California killed 700.
7/6/1911. A severe earthquake shook Mexico City, killing over 100.
5/5/1910. Earthquake in Nicaragua killed 500.
27/3/1910. Mount Etna in Italy erupted.
30/7/1909, Earthquake in Mexico; Acapulco destroyed.
11/6/1909. Earthquake killed 60 in Provence, France.
28/12/1908. An earthquake killed more than 75,000 people in Messina, Sicily, over half the population. This was the most violent earthquake ever recorded in Europe.
24/10/1907, Severe earthquake hit Calabria, southern Italy.
14/1/1907. Major quake hit Kingston, Jamaica. Most of the city was destroyed and over 1,000 died. On 22/1/1907 the islands British Governor rejected an offer of food and medical aid from the US navy.
16/8/1906. Severe earthquake killed hundreds in Chile.
18/4/1906. Major earthquake hit San Francisco. Over 1,000 people were killed and large fires threatened upmarket homes on Nob Hill, after the water mains were destroyed in the quake. Overall, 3,000 acres of the city were devastated. The fire did more damage than the quake, it took 3 days to bring the blaze under control and 490 blocks were destroyed.
7/4/1906. Mount Vesuvius erupted, destroying the town of Ottaiano. Hundreds died. Over 105 were killed when the church of San Guiseppe collapsed in Naples. The weight of ash killed many more as roofs collapsed.
31/1/1906, Magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit the Colombia and Ecuador coasts.
9/9/1905. Severe earthquake killed thousands in Calabria, Italy.
4/4/1905. An earthquake in Lahore, India, killed 12,000 people.
28/5/1903. Earthquake in Constantinople killed 2,000 people.
29/4/1903. Earthquake in Van, Turkey, killed 860.
16/12/1902, An earthquake in Turkestan killed 4,000.
24/10/1902, The Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala began a 2-day eruption.
8/5/1902. Mount Pelee on Martinique erupted, destroying the city of St Pierre and killing 30,000 people in just three minutes.
25/4/1902, A heavy fall of ash from Mont Pelee, Martinique, occurred. This was a prelude to the major eruption of 8/5/1902.
23/9/1902, John Wesley Powell, US geologist (born 24/3/1834) died.
17/1/1902. Earthquake in Mexico City killed 300.
26/4/1900, Charles Richter, seismologist who created the earthquake scale, was born.
7/7/1897, Samuel Allport, English petrologist, died in Cheltenham (born 23/1/1816 in Birmingham).
12/6/1897, A magnitude 8.8 earthquake hit Assam, NE India. 1,542 were killed as a plateau in Shillong district suddenly rose 15 metres, throwing boulders, gravestones and even people into the air.
15/6/1896, A tsunami created a 100 foot that struck Sanriku, Japan, killing 26,000 along 170 miles of coastline.
9/12/1891, Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay, British geologist (born 31/1/1814) died.
28/10/1891, A severe earthquake hit Osaka, Japa; 10,000 were killed.
22/4/1891, Harold Jeffreys, geologist, was born at Fatfield, England. In 1940 he published research on the travel of seismic waves through the Earth.
4/6/1889, German-US geologist Beno Gutenberg was born in Darmstadt, Germany. In 1914 he discovered a discontinuity in the behaviour of earthquake waves at 3,000 km below the earth’s surface. This is the Gutenberg discontinuity, between the mantle and the outer core.
13/3/1888, Volcanic eruption on Ritter Island (New Guinea), causing a large tsunami and obliterating most of the island itself.
1887, In Britain the Mines Act regulated blasting procedures and stipulated the provision of first aid and ambulance facilities for mines.
1886, Earthquake hit Charleston.
1/7/1886, Otto Abich, German mineralogist (born 11/12/1806) died in Vienna.
22/4/1884. A great earthquake hit Colchester and parts of East Anglia. 1,200 buildings were damaged, and 4 people killed.
1883, Earthquake hit Ischia, 2,000 died.
27/8/1883. Krakatoa, a volcanic island in the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java, erupted. Thousands were killed by the resulting tsunamis. In all over 50,000 died as noon turned to darkness and a tidal wave flooded 120 feet high. The eruption was allegedly heard 2,200 miles away in Australia. The eruption caused spectacular red sunsets in Britain for several weeks afterwards.
1880, The Seismological Society of Japan was founded.
1880, Earthquake hit Manila, 3,000 died.
1/11/1880, Alfred Lothar Wegener was born in Berlin, Germany. In 1912 he proposed a theory of continental drift, and the supercontinent of Pangea.
13/5/1880, David Ansted, geologist, died in Melton, near Woodbridge (born 5/2/1814 in London).
16/5/1875, Earthquake affected Colombia and Venezuela; 16,000 killed.
14/12/1873, Louis Agassiz, who developed the theory of Ice Ages, died –see 28/5/1807, when born.
1872, In Britain the Coal Mines Regulation Act made compulsory the use of fan ventilators, stronger timbering, wire ropes, improved winding machinery and better safety lamps.
4/1872, Mount Vesuvius erupted.
10/1/1869, Severe earthquake at Cachar, Assam, India.
24/12/1868, Etienne Archiac, French geologist, died (born 24/9/1802 in Reims).
21/10/1868, San Francisco was devastated by an earthquake, causing US$3million damage.
13/8/1868, A major earthquake killed over 25,000 people and devastated four cities in Peru and Ecuador.
19/5/1868, John Fillmore Hayford was born in Rouses Point, New York. He used the new science of geodesy to determine the exact shape of the Earth.
3/2/1864, Severe earthquake in Mindanao, Philippines.
1862, Mining legislation in Britain stipulated that every mine must have at least two shafts, to increase the chances of escape in an accident.
20/3/1861, The city of Mendoza, Argentina, was destroyed in an earthquake; 12,000 died.
27/8/1859. The world’s first oil well was drilled at Titusville, Pennsylvania, by Edwin Drake of Seneca Oil. Oil had been known in this area for 300 years. It used to seep from the ground and was used for curing many ailments from blindness to rheumatism, colds, coughs, sprains, and baldness. It was also skimmed from creeks and used for lighting, although it gave off a foul smell when burned. Chemists turned the oil into a better lighting fuel. Drake drilled down 69 feet and got a steady flow of 25 barrels a day from his well. By the end of the year the well once called ‘Drake’s Folly’ had produced 2,000 barrels, and other prospectors joined in the search for more oil.
18/5/1859, Geophysicist Harry Reid was born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He showed that earthquakes were caused when rocks either side of fault lines moved; previous theories suggested that the earthquakes caused the faults, not the other way round.
22/3/1859. Major earthquake at Quito,5,000 killed.
21/2/1858, Corinth, Greece, was destroyed by an earthquake.
21/3/1857, Earthquake in Japan killed 107,000.
23/1/1857, Andrija Mohorovicic was born in Volosko, Yugoslavia. In 1909 he discovered the boundary in the Earth’s crust 30 km down where earthquake waves change. This Mohorovicic Discontinuity is the boundary between the crust and mantle.
17/8/1856, Constant Prevost, French geologist, born 4/6/1787, died.
1855, Earthquake hit New Zealand.
7/7/1855, Earthquake in Shiraz, northern Iran killed 40,000 people.
1854, Heinrich Ernst identified the Oligocene geological period.
1851, In Britain the Royal School of Mines opened. By the 1860s it was also training mine inspectors and raising safety standards in the mining industry.
1850, In Britain, the Coal Mines Inspection Act provided for increased inspectors to report on safety and work conditions in mines. The Mines Regulation and Inspection Act 1860 increased further the number of inspectors and forbade children aged under 12 from working underground. See Child Welfare for more legislation curbing childrens’ work in mines and factories.
1841, Sir Roderick Impey Murchison identified the Permian geological period.
1835, The theory that huge moving ice sheets had created the long lines of stony rubble found in parts of Europe, as they pushed it ahead of them, began to gain credence; the Theory of Ice Ages. Before this such stony ridges were attributed to the Biblical Flood. It was not for another 50 years that an explanation of how Ice Ages happen was developed.
17/12/1835, Alexander Agassiz, geologist, was born in Neuchatel (died 1910).
20/8/1831, Austrian geologist Edouard Seiss was born in London.
1829, Severe earthquake hit Murcia, Spain.
29/5/1829. Sir Humphrey Davy, born 17/12/1778, inventor of the safety lamp (see 9/1/1816) died in Geneva.
28/12/1828, Earthquake at Echigo, Japan, killed 30,000.
12/10/1825, Mineralogist Franz Joseph Muller died in Vienna, Austria.
1824, Earthquake in Shiraz, Iran, killede 4,000 people.
1823, The first geological survey of North Carolina was completed by Denison Olmstead.
1822, Earthquake at Aleppo, 22,000 dead.
29/3/1819, Edward Laurentine Drake was born in Greenville, New York, USA. On 28/8/1859 he drilled the world’s first oil well.
8/12/1818, Mineralogist Johann Gottleib Gahn died in Falun, Kopparburg, Sweden.
23/1/1816, Samuel Allport, English petrologist, was born in Birmingham. He died 7/7/1897 in Cheltenham.
9/1/1816. Sir Humphrey Davy’s safety lamp used in a coal mine for the first time.
1815, William Smith’s book, The geological map of England, was the first to identify rock strata by the fossils they contain. This enabled geologists far apart to know they were working on the same period rocks.
31/10/1815, Sir Humphrey Davy patented the miner’s safety lamp.
10/4/1815, After five days of volcanic eruptions, Mount Tambora exploded. The top 500 metres of the mountain vanished, and a 6 kilometre wide crater appeared. By July 1815 60,000 had died from the effects of the eruption, and summer 1816 was very cool, bringing starvation, riots and disease.
1814, Mount Mayon volcano, Philippines, erupted, killing 1200 and destroying the town of Cagsaua, now replaced by Albay.
5/2/1814, David Ansted, geologist, was born in London (died 13/5/1880 in Melton, near Woodbridge).
7/10/1813, Mineralogist Peter Jacob Hjelm died in Stockholm, Sweden.
1/10/1813, Following the explosion at Brandling Main colliery (15/5/1812) the Sunderland Society was formed, to promote mine safety.
1812, Much of Shiraz, Iran, was destroyed by an earthquake.
26/12/1812. A severe earthquake hit Barquismeto, a city in western Venezuela.
15/5/1812, Mine explosion at Brandling Main (Felling) colliery, Sunderland. See 1/10/1813.
12/3/1812. A severe earthquake hit Caracas, capital of Venezuela.
6/12/1811. A severe earthquake hit the Mississippi Valley.
28/5/1807, Louis Agassiz, who developed the theory of Ice Ages, was born in Motier en Vully, Switzerland. His father, a Christian minister, wanted his son to become a medical doctor, although as a boy he showed a strong interest in zoology. Later, during his travels through the Alps, in 1836, he developed the theory that much of the Earth had once been underneath great ice sheets. He died on 14/12/1873.
11/12/1806, Otto Abich, German mineralogist (died 1/7/1886) was born in Berlin.
24/9/1802, Etienne Archiac, French geologist, was born in Reims (died 24/12/1868).
6/4/1801, William Hallowes Miller was born in Llandovery, Wales. In 1839 he developed a system for classifying crystals in rocks that is still used today.
1799, Alexander von Humboldt coined the term Jurassic.
22/1/1799, Horace Benedict de Saussure, geologist, died in Geneva, Switzerland.
4/2/1797, Major earthquake hit Riobamba, Ecuador, 41,000 dead.
21/4/1793, Geologist John Michell died at Thornhill, England.
19/2/1792, Geologist Roderick Impey Murchison was born in Tarradale, Scotland. He was the first to identify the Silurian Period, in 1835.
1785, James Hutton (born Edinburgh, Scotland, 3/6/1726),in his work Theory of the Earth, proposed the principle of Uniformitarianism – that all current geological features can be explained by very slow-scale processes.
22/3/1785, Geologist Adam Sedgwick was born in Yorkshire, England. In 1835 he identified the Cambrian Period.
1783, Earthquake in Calabria, 60,000 dead.
8/6/1783, The Laki Volcano in Iceland erupted; the world’s largest volcanic eruption. One fifth of Iceland’s inhabitants, over 10,000 people, died as a 28km long fissure opened up, from which lava covered an area of 570 square kilometres. Some 12-15 cubic kilometres of lava were ejected. Deaths were from poisonous gases then from famine and disease as three quarters of Iceland’s livestock also perished. England faced very cold weather from June to December.
1779, Horace de Saussure coined the term ‘geology’ in his work Voyages dan les Alpes.
17/12/1778, Sir Humphrey Davy, inventor of the miner’s safety lamp, was born in Penzance (died 1829). He was the son of a woodcarver. He also discovered the elements sodium, calcium, barium, magnesium, potassium and strontium by passing electricity through molten metal compounds.
1775, A mining academy was set up in Clausthal, Germany.
7/6/1773, Guatemala City was destroyed by an earthquake.
23/2/1770, Izalco Volcano, El Salvador, began an eruption that lasted for several decades.
1765, A mining academy was established at Freiberg, Germany.
19/8/1765, Mineralogist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt died in Stockholm, Sweden.
15/5/1765, James Watt invented the condenser, effectively trebling the energy output of the existing Newcomen steam pumps. The earlier Newcomen engine pumped steam into a cylinder, forcing back a piston; the cylinder was then sprayed with cool water, condensing the steam and creating a vacuum that pulled the piston back. Alternately heating and cooling the cylinder was inefficient. Watt’s idea was to attach a separate chamber off the main cylinder into which the steam could be allowed to enter, and cooled there by water, again creating the vacuum that pulled the piston back again. The main cylinder could be kept hot, saving considerable energy. The energy content of Britain’s coal reserves was effectively trebled.
1757, Earthquake in Calabria, 10,000 killed.
1/11/1755. An earthquake reduced two thirds of Lisbon to rubble, killing 60,000 people. Lisbon had been a great city with a population of about a quarter of a million. The quake has been estimated at Richter 9, and caused cracks as wide as 5 metres in the ground to open. Further destruction was caused when a 6 metre high tsunami struck, drowning many who had sought refuge on ships in the harbour. Fire then destroyed many more buildings. Striking on All Saints Day, the quake caused many to be sceptical of God’s existence, and the event spurred research into natural causes for disasters rather than Acts of God, laying the foundations for the Enlightenment.
25/9/1750, German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner was born in Wehrau. He pioneered a method of classifying minerals by their physical charatceristics such as colour, hardness,transparency,lustre, and shape.
23/8/1750, An earth tremor was felt in Spalding. On 2/3/1750 an earth tremor had been felt in London, and on 2/4/1750 another tremor was felt in Warrington.
28/10/1746, An earthquake destroyed the towns of Lima and Callao in Peru.
1745, Mikhail Vasilievich published a catalogue of 3,030 minerals.
11/10/1737, An earthquake killed 300,000 in Calcutta.
1724, Earthquake at Lima, 18,000 dead.
1707, The last eruption of Mount Fujiyama, to date.
3/11/1706, A severe earthquake hit Abruzzi, Italy, destroying the town and killing 15,000 of its inhabitants.
1703, De la Hautefeuille designed the first (Western) seismograph.
30/12/1703, In Japan, an earthquake and the resultant fires killed 200,000 people in Edo.
14/2/1703, An earthquake hit Norcia, Italy.
2/2/1703, An earthquake hit the town of L’Aquila, Italy.
1700, To manufacture 1 tonne of iron, in pre-industrial times, required 10 hectares of forest to produce enough charcoal. The same amount of iron could be made with 5 tonnes of coal.
26/1/1700, The Cascadia Earthquake, North America.
11/1/1693, Mount Etna erupted; a large earthquake affected Sicily and Malta; with 60,000 dead.
7/6/1692, Earthquake in Jamaica. 3,000 killed, as Port Royal subsided into the sea.
11/3/1669, Mount Etna, Sicily, erupted, killing 20,000.
25/11/1667, Earthquake at Samakhi, Azerbaijan.
16/12/1631, Major eruption of Vesuvius killed 18,000 people.
19/2/1600, The volcano Huaynaputina in South America underwent a violent eruption, the worst recorded in South America.
6/4/1580, An earth tremor damaged several old London churches, including the old St Paul’s Cathedral.
16/12/1575, A large earthquake at Valdivia.
2/11/1570. A tidal wave in the North Sea destroyed sea walls from Holland to Jutland; over a thousand were killed.
23/1/1556. An earthquake in China’s Shanxi province killed an estimated 830,000 people.
15/2/1549, Major earthquake hit Qayin, Iran, killing 3,000.
1538, At Tripergole, a town near Pozzouli and Vesuvius, in the previous few years the ground having risen seven metres, exposing ancient Roman ruins from the Pompeii era; a new offshore volcano called Monte Nuovo appeared, reaching a height of 140 metres.
25/2/1531. A severe earthquake killed an estimated 20,000 people in Lisbon.
10/9/1509, Istanbul earthquake destroyed 109 mosques and killed an estimated 10,000 people.
1/7/1507, The earliest records of coal-mining at Nailsea, near Bristol. Coal was being transported to Yatton for household fireplaces. By the late 19th century coal mining had died out south of Bristol as the industry migrated to the richer seams of south Wales.
1505, The last recorded earthquake before modern times in western Nepal.
18/10/1356, Basel, Switzerland, was badly damaged by an earthquake.
8/8/1303, An earthquake destroyed the Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt, one of the seven wonders of the world.
26/5/1293, An earthquake in Kamakura, Japan killed an estimated 30,000.
27/9/1290, An earthquake in the Gulf of Chili, province of Hebei, China, killed an estimated 100,000.
1268, Earthquake in Silicia, Turkey, killed an estimated 60,000.
11/5/1222, Earthquake in Cyprus.
20/5/1202, An earthquake in Syria.
7/1201, Severe earthquake hit the eastern Mediterranean, killing an estimated 1.1 million people.
4/2/1169, An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of around 7 struck the eastern coast of Sicily, causing an estimated 15,000 deaths.
11/10/1138, An earthquake in Aleppo, Syria, killed about 230,000 people.
19/9/1119, Severe earthquake in Gloucestershire & Warwickshire, England.
11/8/1089, A powerful earthquake was recorded in Britain.
1086, Shen Kuo, Chinese polymath, wrote essays on fossils, erosion, uplift and sedimentation; the foundations of modern geology.
964, Earliest recorded earthquake in Britain.
939, Major volcanic eruption in Iceland, affected climate and crops worldwide.
26/5/869, An earthquake and tsunami devastated a large part of the Sanriku coast near Sendai, Japan.
22/12/856, Earthquake in Danghan, Iran, killed 200,000.
9/3/757, A major earthquake struck Palestine and Syria.
18/1/749, A severe earthquake hit Palestine.
26/10/740, An earthquake struck Constantinople.
24/12/717, An earthquake shook many places in northern Syria, and destroyed the Old Church of Edessa.
28/2/714, An earthquake struck Syria.
26/11/684, A great earthquake struck Japan.
7/5/558, In Constantinople, the dome of the Hagia Sophia collapsed due to an earthquake. Emperor Justinian I ordered the dome to be rebuilt.
551, Major earthquake in Beirut; 250,000 dead.
29/11/539, Antioch was struck by an earthquake.
472, Vesuvius erupted.
6/11/447, The walls of Constantinople were severely damaged by an earthquake, destroying large parts of the wall, including 57 towers. The population was threatened by a plaque. Emperor Theodosius II ordered Constantine, praetorian prefect of the East, to supervise the repairs. He employed the city's demoi ("Circus factions") in the work and rebuilt the walls within 60 days.
21/7/365, An earthquake and tsunami devastated Crete and Alexandria and affected Italy, Greece, and Palestine.
358, Large earthquake in Asia Minor.
103, According to local tradition, a major earthquake occurred in Somerset, England, causing an entire town (name unknown) to be swallowed up.
25/8/79, Pliny the Elder, naturalist, died, in the eruption of Vesuvius.
24/8/79. Vesuvius erupted, destroying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing 2,000 people.
3/44 BCE, Mount Etna began a series of eruptions, lasting from March until May. Dust emitted by the volcano hung in the atmosphere, causing three years of crop failures in China.
565 BCE, The Greek philosopher Xenophanes theorised that because fossil sea shells can be found on mountaintops, then parts of the Earth’s surface must have risen and sunk over time; an early theory of geology.