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7 Most Earthquake-Prone Cities in the World
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October 2, 2019
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Travel Trivia Editorial
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According to the United States Geological Survey, the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States happened in Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1964. That earthquake measured at the incredible magnitude of 9.2 on the Richter scale. And while earthquakes aren't unusual for the area, they are usually much less severe. Prince William Sound experiences far fewer earthquakes than a lot of other cities around the world. Some areas in the Pacific measure seismic activity on an almost daily basis thanks to the Ring of Fire. The plate is in almost constant motion, according to CNN, and is home to several volcanoes as well.

But earthquakes aren't exclusive to the Ring of Fire. They happen all over the world every day. Here are the seven cities where you are most likely to experience an earthquake.

Quito, Ecuador

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According to Earthquake Track, Quito has experienced 15 earthquakes with a magnitude of 1.5 or greater in the last year. And while the majority of those are too slight for most residents to feel, the city is no stranger to major earthquakes. Those earthquakes register 7.0 or more on the Richter scale. According to Reuters, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Peru–Ecuador border, shaking residents in the capital city of Quito. Earthquakes of a similar magnitude killed one person in 2018 and more than 700 in 2016.

Lima, Peru

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Earthquake Track reports 14 earthquakes in Lima in the last year, with Volcano Discovery reporting more than 340 for the country as a whole. That's in line with what Ecuador experiences each year. What's interesting about Lima's earthquake history is just how far back it goes. There are records of earthquakes going back to the 16th century. According to Lima Easy, major earthquakes in 1533 and 1555 rocked the capital city. Trip Savvy reports there is a major earthquake in the region about once every six years.

Manila, Philippines

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The Philippines experiences frequent seismic activity because of its location. That's because the country, and its capital Manila, sits on top of multiple shifting tectonic plates converging in the Pacific Ocean. ABS CBN news network reports that 20 earthquakes each day is an average for the area. While the majority of these earthquakes are not felt on the surface, Manila experiences stronger earthquakes with disturbing frequency. In April of 2019, Manila experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 during Monday's rush hour.

Istanbul, Turkey

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The Hurriyet Daily News reports that the Kandilli Observatory in Istanbul records about 10,000 earthquakes in Turkey every year. The capital city of Istanbul sits near the North Anatolian Fault. Three major universities are warning that things could get worse, according to newspaper Daily Sabah. In a joint-issued study, researchers warn that the city should prepare for a series of earthquakes. They predict three earthquakes measuring higher than 7.0 on the Richter Scale could strike in the near future.

Los Angeles, California, USA

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According to the United States Geological Survey, Southern California experiences about 10,000 earthquakes each year. Los Angeles sits in the middle of a lot of the action. Of all those quakes, though, only about 15 measure at 4.0 or greater on the Richter scale. Earthquakes above the 4.0 mark are usually strong enough that the city's several million residents feel the tremors. The cause of all these earthquakes lies with the San Andreas fault, according to the Southern California Earthquake Center. This is where the Pacific and North American plates of the earth push together. That friction produces thousands of small earthquakes each year.

Jakarta, Indonesia

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Jakarta is another city with an unfortunate position on the Ring of Fire. The Straits Times reported that Indonesia experienced more than 11,500 earthquakes in 2018, and those numbers appear to be growing. Previous years averaged around 6,000 earthquakes. While no one can account for the increase in activity, Jakarta is doing its part to get prepared. According to the Jakarta Post, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency presented a paper on how vulnerable the city is to a massive earthquake and how to mitigate the potential damage. There are over 800 high-rise buildings in the city that would be vulnerable in the event of a major earthquake. Measures are being taken to prepare both the citizens and the infrastructure for the next big quake.

Tokyo, Japan

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According to the Meteorological Agency of Japan, about one in ten earthquakes measured in the world happen in Japan. The country can experience thousands of earthquakes every year, though most of them are too small in magnitude to feel on the surface. The reason the country experiences so many earthquakes is thanks to its direct position over the Ring of Fire, where the tectonic plates below the country are in almost constant motion.

Tokyo has a long history of suffering from earthquake-related damages. The good news is that most households and businesses are prepared for an earthquake to strike. Not only are buildings constructed to withstand the swaying motion of the earth, but most have an earthquake kit on hand. The kits contain enough food, water, and medical supplies to last for several days.