Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On: Historical Earthquakes Quiz
by Staff
We like to speculate about the "Big One," when California will fall into the ocean. But let's not forget the real (and allegorical) quakes that have already shaken us up. Take this quiz to see how much you know about them.

Where did the largest earthquake of the 20th century happen?

  • off the coast of south central Chile
  • Sumatra, Indonesia
  • Sichuan, China

Which location is believed to be the site of the deadliest earthquake in the world's history?

  • Hebei, China
  • Ningxia-Gansu, China
  • Shaanxi, China

True or false: San Francisco is moving toward Los Angeles at the same speed at which your fingernails grow.

  • true
  • false

One of the most damaging earthquakes on the East Coast happened where?

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Charleston, Massachusetts
  • Charleston, Virginia

What caused most of the casualties of the Great Tohuku earthquake in Japan?

  • fire
  • collapsing buildings
  • tsunami

Where was the epicenter of the Great Kanto earthquake?

  • Tokyo
  • Skopje, Macedonia
  • Oaxaca, Mexico

An estimated 3,000 people died and 200,000 people (about half the city's population) were left homeless when a 7.7-7.9 magnitude quake devastated which U.S. city on April 18, 1906?

  • Rat Islands, Alaska
  • Loma Prieta, California
  • San Francisco

What type of structure is the most vulnerable to the ground-shaking of an earthquake?

  • houses with basements
  • brick buildings without steel reinforcements
  • nonductile concrete buildings

True or false: The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the Flores Region, Indonesia, on Dec. 12, 1992, was both the largest and the deadliest quake in the world that year.

  • true
  • false

What two plates meet at the San Andreas Fault?

  • Pacific and North American Plates
  • Pacific and Farallon Plates
  • Mendocino and North American Plates

Which is an anti-quake technology used to help keep skyscrapers standing during an earthquake?

  • flood rooms
  • spherical-shaped buildings
  • pendulums

How many people died when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Italy's Messina Strait devastated the cities of Messina, Sicily, and Reggio di Calabria, Italy?

  • 700-800
  • 70,000-80,000
  • 700,000-800,000

Which quake caused hairline cracks to form in the runways at the U.S. Coast Guard Loran Station in 1965?

  • Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
  • Rat Islands, Alaska
  • Prince William Sound, Alaska

Movement of which tectonic plates caused the 9.1 magnitude quake off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, in 2004?

  • the Indo-Australian Plate and the South American Plate
  • the Indo-Australian Plate and the Burma Plate
  • the Eurasian Plate the Yangtze Plate

Which state has been struck by more earthquakes measuring magnitude 7 or greater?

  • Alaska
  • Washington
  • California

Which nuclear power plant experienced a full meltdown after the 9.0 magnitude quake that hit 231 miles (372 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo in 2011?

  • Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
  • Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant
  • Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture

Is there such a thing as "earthquake weather"?

  • yes
  • no

Which is NOT a type of earthquake-resistant engineering?

  • mandatory roof straps
  • shock absorbers
  • seismic invisibility cloak

How far did the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku-Oki that hit northeast of Tokyo in 2011 move Honshu, Japan's main island?

  • 8 centimeters
  • 8 inches (20 centimeters)
  • 8 feet (244 centimeters)

Can an earthquake change Earth's rotation?

  • yes
  • no

True or false: The 9.0 magnitude Tohoku-Oki earthquake that hit Japan in 2011 changed the way gravity works.

  • true
  • false

Can an earthquake shift Earth's figure axis?

  • yes
  • no

Earthquakes under what magnitude usually DON'T trigger tsunamis?

  • magnitude 6
  • magnitude 7
  • magnitude 8

Where do about 90 percent of the world's earthquakes happen?

  • in earthquake swarms
  • Alpide Belt
  • Circum-Pacific Belt

Which was the deadliest year for earthquakes in the 1990s worldwide?

  • 1990
  • 1993
  • 1999

What city lost about two-thirds of its entire population after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck in 1948?

  • Abadan, Iran
  • Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  • Akdepe, Turkmenistan

A quake measuring 7.6 magnitude killed nearly 2,500 people and caused damage to every town on what island?

  • Taiwan
  • Sicily
  • Java, Indonesia

True or false: A powerful earthquake on one side of the world can affect fault zones worldwide.

  • true
  • false

Of the roughly 500,000 earthquakes that strike around the world each year, how many are strong enough to be felt by people?

  • 100,000
  • 10,000
  • 100

True or false: Earth's midsection became more elongated after the 9.0 (plus) magnitude earthquake that struck Indonesia in 2004.

  • true
  • false