Image Gallery: Deadly Earthquakes

Pancake Collapse

(Image credit: J. Dewey, U.S. Geological Survey)

Northridge, California Earthquake, January 17, 1994. At the Northridge Fashion Center, near the earthquake epicenter, the second floor of Bullocks Department Store collapsed onto the bottom story. The shear between the waffle slab and the columns caused complete separation of the slab system from the columns and a pancake collapse.

Intense Force

(Image credit: M. Celebi, U.S. Geological Survey)

Northridge, California Earthquake, January 17, 1994. A view of the parking structure on the campus of California State University. The bowed columns are of reinforced concrete. The structure has precast moment- resisting-concrete frames on the exterior and a precast concrete interior designed for vertical loads. The inside of the structure failed, and with each aftershock the outside collapsed slowly toward the inside until finally the west side failed totally. The reinforced concrete columns were extremely bent.

On the Verge

(Image credit: Dr. Roger Hutchison)

Great Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) Earthquake, January 16, 1995. The picture shows an office building with a partially destroyed first floor. The majority of partial or complete collapses were in the older, reinforced concrete buildings built before 1975. However, significant non-structural damage was also observed for buildings of relatively recent steel or composite construction.

Waves of Destruction

(Image credit: AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Tidal waves wash through houses at Maddampegama, about 60 kilometers (38 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2004. Massive waves triggered by earthquakes crashed into villages along a wide stretch of the Sri Lankan coast. There were a total of 283,106 deaths from the earthquake and tsunami.

Deadly Aftershocks

(Image credit: AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

A woman looks back at the gathering storm clouds as she rides back to her refugee camp at Cadek village, on the outskirts of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Monday, March 28, 2005. On this day, an 8.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra. It apparently did not generate a significant tsunami, despite originating in the same area as the Dec. 26 earthquake that unleashed towering killer waves across the Indian Ocean. Debate surfaces over whether these tremblings were an earthquake or aftershock.