Comparing earthquakes by energy release, animation
Comparing earthquakes by energy release. Animation illustrating the differences in released energy between earthquakes as measured on the moment magnitude scale. This value is proportional to an earthquake's total energy release. The energy release increases by a factor of about 32 for each whole magnitude number. This animation compares the relative moment magnitudes of some 20th-century and 21st-century earthquakes. Each circle's area represents its relative energy release. The labels list the moment magnitude, the location, and the year. From bottom (least energy, green) to top (most energy, red), the labelled earthquakes are: 5.8: Mineral, Virginia (2011); 6.0: Napa, California (2014); 6.3: L'Aquila, Italy (2009); 6.7: Northridge, California (1994) and Hawaii (2006); 6.9: Loma Prieta, California (1989) and Kobe, Japan (1995); 7.0: Haiti (2010); 7.8: San Francisco (1906); 8.0: Mexico (1985); 8.1: Samoa (2009); 8.2: Bolivia (1994); 8.6: Aleutian Islands (1946) and Indian Ocean (2012); 8.8: Maule, Chile (2010); 9.0: Tohoku-Oki, Japan (2011); 9.1: Sumatra-Andaman Islands and Indonesia and India (2004); 9.2: Prince William Sound, Alaska (1964); and the most powerful recorded earthquake at 9.5: Valdivia, Chile (1960).