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Lima after the devastating earthquake from 1974

20th Century Earthquakes

Records about Historical Earthquakes in Peru

1940 the city of Lima and the nearby areas were shaken by another destructive earthquake at 11.35 am. The magnitude 8.2 earthquake was so intense that it was felt throughout Peru and as far as Guayaquil, Ecuador in the north and Arica, Chile in the south. The temblor caused great destruction especially in Lima's city center, in Callao, Chorrillos, Barranco, Chancay and Lurin. Once again the Cathedral of Lima suffered badly.

Earthquake 4th of March 1904 Lima

At 05.17 am a strong earthquake rattled Lima and an area of around 230,000 km2. Many ancient houses were destroyed; the Cathedral of Lima was once again badly damaged. In the port of Callao and in Chorrillos nearly all buildings were affected. The shocks could be felt as far as Trujillo in the north and Pisco, Ica and Ayacucho in the south.

Earthquake 12th of December 1908 off the coast of Central Peru

A sea-quake with a magnitude of 8.2 shocks the central Peruvian coast, causing as well a huge tsunami.

Earthquake 6th of August 1913 Caraveli (Arequipa province)

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 hit Caraveli destroying it completely. Severe damage was also reported from Arequipa, Chuquibamba, Ocoño and Atico. At least 60 people died.

Earthquake 4th of November 1913 Aymaraes

A strong tremor struck the Apurimac region leaving 155 dead. The shocks could be felt as well in Abancay and Arequipa.

Earthquake 21st of August 1915 Lima

At 02.23 pm Lima and Callao experienced a strong earthquake. According to the Sociedad Geografica de Lima (Geographical Society of Lima) the epicenter was located only 83km away from Lima.

Earthquake 11th of March 1926 Lima

An earthquake with great intensity hit Lima causing damage to mayor structures. In Callao's cemetery the mausoleums suffered damage. The central railroad track was partly buried by landslides.

Earthquake 09th of April 1928 Ayapata (Carabaya province, Puno)

A 7.3 earthquake hits the Carabaya province (Puno) destroying all villages in the region and leaving around 5000 people dead. The intensive shocks could be felt in Puno, Cusco and Huancané.

Earthquake 14th of May 1928 Chachapoyas

In the late afternoon a 7.2 earthquake struck in Chachapoyas. The city was completely destroyed, a landslide nearby caused about 25 dead. The tremor could be felt in nearby Ecuador, but also in Brazil, Colombia and Lima.

Earthquake 19th of January 1932 Lima

Lima was jolted by an intense earthquake at 09.33 pm which burst walls, chimneys and towers. In the port of Callao the earthquake was much stronger. Many public buildings and residences were badly damaged. The Church of Santa Rosa in Callao survived the quake in a deplorable state.

Earthquake 5th of August 1933 Lima Region

At 09.55 pm a strong and long earthquake hit Lima, Callao and Ica. Especially old mansions were damaged. In Ica many windows were shattered.

Earthquake 24th of May 1940 Lima & Callao

The city of Lima and the nearby areas were shaken by another destructive earthquake at 11.35 am. The magnitude 8.2 earthquake was so intense that it was felt throughout Peru and as far as Guayaquil, Ecuador in the north and Arica, Chile in the south. The temblor caused great destruction especially in Lima's city center, in Callao, Chorrillos, Barranco, Chancay and Lurin.

Once again the Cathedral of Lima suffered badly. Around half of the antique quincha and adobe houses that survived other quakes were destroyed completely. Not only old buildings were affected by the shaking but as well modern structures. 179 people died and 3500 were injured. The damage was estimated at around 3,600,000 Soles de Oro.

Earthquake 24th of August 1942 Ica / Nazca

An 8.2 earthquake hit the Ica – Nazca region destroying the area completely. About 30 people died. The tremor could be felt in the city of Huaraz in the north, Cerro de Pasco and Oxapampa in the NE, Cuzco in the east, and Moquegua in the south. It is estimated that 30% of the buildings in the city of Nazca suffered total ruin. The neighboring towns of Acarí and Jacquí were reduced to rubble. The damage extended to the towns of Quicacha and Atiquipa, and was pronounced at Palpa. In the city of Caravelí only buildings of recent construction withstood the shock.

The heavy cupola of the Church of the Lord of Luren in Ica, collapsed, various slight damages were reported on the houses in Ica, Pisco and Chinchas. The Cordilleran towns of Coracora, Huancapi, and others suffered some damage. In the port of Chala the shaking reached such violence that several people were thrown to the ground when they lost their footing. In the harbor of Lomas the sea retreated more than 200 meters, immediately returning to inundate the town, destroying wharves, customs storage houses and causing injuries.

Earthquake 10th of November 1946 Sihuas (Ancash)

A strong 7.3 earthquake hit the Ancash region. Nearly all buildings in the Sihuas-Quiches-Conchucos area of the Ancash Department were destroyed or heavily damaged. Many landslides occurred: one buried the village of Acobamba and another dammed the Pelagatos River. The shock disturbed an enormous area, and extreme violence was reported in the region near the fault. The quake was felt from Guayaquil, Ecuador to Lima, Peru. Several segments of surface faulting were seen in a zone about 18 km (11 mi) long from Quiches to Hacienda Mayas. About 2000 people were killed which is remarkable for such a thinly populated area.

Earthquake 1st of November 1947 Satipo (Junin)

A 7.8 earthquake struck the central highlands and Peruvian jungle in the Junin province. Especially Satipo, Andamarca, Acobamba and La Merced suffered badly. About 250 people died. The tremor could be felt throughout Peru.

Earthquake 11th of May 1948 South of Peru

A strong earthquake rattled the south Peruvian provinces of Moquegua, Arequipa, Tacna and Puno. Severe damages especially to old structures and about 200 deaths are reported.

Earthquake 21st of May 1950 Cusco

At 01.30 pm a devastating earthquake hit Cusco leaving about 50% of buildings and residences destroyed. Landslides in the mountains caused further damage. Some reports estimate 1500 fatalities.

Earthquake 31st of January 1951 Lima

Lima had to experience a strong earthquake at 11.39 am. The quake was introduced by a strange noise. Seconds later the most buildings in the city were swaying. Many house walls and streets cracked.

Earthquake 15th of February 1953 Lima

The citizens of Lima were woken up by another violent tremor at 04.33 am. The intense noise and heavy shaking made them leave their beds and run to the streets in the early morning hours.

Earthquake 12th of December 1953 Tumbes

Near the border of Peru and Ecuador a 7.8 earthquake offshore Tumbes hit the region. 6 people are reported to have died, about 200 houses were destroyed, numerous ground fissures occurred. The intense shaking could be felt in northeastern Peru and parts of Ecuador.

Earthquake 9th of February 1955 Lima

A strong earthquake hit Lima at 11.06 am. 11 people died. Luckily only a few public buildings and residences were damaged.

Earthquake 15th of January 1958 Arequipa

At 02.15 pm another time a strong tremor shock Arequipa causing heavy damages to most of Arequipa's buildings, the church and residences as well as the surrounding regions. Falling rocks and landslides in the mountains destroyed parts of the railroad line to Puno and the Pan Americana highway. Over 200 died, more than 800 were injured and about 100,000 were left homeless.

Earthquake 13th of January 1960 Arequipa Region

At 10.40 am the Arequipa region was rattled by a strong earthquake. Affected were the areas around Arequipa, Moquegua, Chuquibamba, Caraveli and Cotahuasi. Numerous houses were partly badly damaged, most of the infrastructure destroyed. Fatalities vary from 100 to over 600; hundreds were injured, thousands homeless.

Earthquake 15th of January 1960 Lima

A strong earthquake hit Lima and an extensive area in the south at 04.30 am. Some buildings were destroyed completely, but tens of thousands in Lima, Ica, Huancavelica, Palpa and Nazca were damaged badly. Many people were injured and about 60 died.

Earthquake 17th of October 1966 Lima & Callao

This earthquake just off the coast of Callao, was undoubtedly one of the strongest since 1940. It had a magnitude of 8.1 on the Richter scale and claimed over 125 lives. Some 3000 people were injured, about 200,000 homeless.

The town of Huacho was the most severely damaged with over 20,000 inhabitants left homeless. A religious festival was being held in Callao and several were killed when some of the churches collapsed. In Lima 2300 houses suffered severe structural damage. Cars were tossed about, streets were cracked open, cornices plunged into streets and panicking citizens fled to the streets. Landslides and huge ground cracks were reported along the Pan American Highway north of Ancon. This shock generated a tsunami affecting mostly La Punta in Callao.

Earthquake 31st of May 1970 Chimbote

The worst ever reported natural disaster in the Peruvian history began at 3.23pm when a 7.9 earthquake occurred about 30 km west of the coast of the Peruvian fishing port Chimbote. Damage reached from Chiclayo in the north to Lima in the south, but coastal towns near the epicenter and towns in the Santa River Valley to the east suffered most.

Casma, a coastal city south of the earthquake epicenter with about 13,000 population sustained severe damage to 90% of its structures, but had comparatively few deaths. Chimbote, north of Casma, reported almost 3000 deaths and sustained severe damage to 70 to 80% of its structures.

Although the earthquake itself caused much death and damage, severe losses were also caused by an avalanche which swept down the steep slopes of the Cordillera Blanca from Nevados Huascarán into the Callejón del Huaylas, a steep valley paralleling the coast. The quake destabilized the northern wall of Mount Huascarán, causing a rock, ice and snow avalanche and burying the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca.

The avalanche started as a sliding mass of glacial ice and rock about 910 m wide and 1.5 km long. It advanced about 18 km to the village of Yungay at an average speed of 280 to 335 km/h. The fast-moving mass picked up glacial deposits and by the time it reached Yungay, it is estimated to have consisted of about 80,000,000 m of water, mud, and rocks burying everything in its way.

About 100,000 people were killed (75,000 to 80,000 dead; 20,000 to 25,000 missing), 200,000 to 300,000 injured and more than 1,000,000 were left homeless.

Earthquake 19th of June 1972 Lima

A strong earthquake at 10.51 am luckily only caused moderate damages in Limas city center.

Earthquake 3rd of October 1974 Lima & Southern Parts of Peru

At 09.21 am a shock centered approximately 80 kilometers southwest of Lima rocked the southern coastal area of Peru inflicting heavy damage in the Lima area. The earthquake measured a magnitude of 8.1 on the Richter scale and lasted around 2 minutes. It caused extensive damage to churches, historical monuments, public buildings and residences in the region. Antique adobe and chincha houses especially in the districts of Barrios Altos, Rimac, the City Center, Barranco, Chorrillos and Callao suffered badly.

Modern reinforced concrete structures were severely damaged. In the district of La Molina for example a number of new buildings couldn't stand the strong forces and collapsed. The same happened in the district of Callao where a four storey reinforced concrete building collapsed. 78 people lost their lives, over 2500 were injured. The damage was estimated at around 2,700,000,000 Soles.

Earthquake 12th of November 1996 Nazca / South of Peru

A violent 6.4 tremor struck at noon the south of Peru affecting the provinces of Ica, Nazca, Palpa, Carveli, Caylloma as well as areas in in Arequipa and Huancavelica region. In Nazca about 90% of the constructions were destroyed or badly damaged. The earthquake left 17 dead, more than 1500 injured and nearly 100,000 homeless.
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