Monday, June 27, 2011


I have a piece that I’ll post before too long on earthquakes and faith. As a introduction or forward I’ll post these thoughts I shared with some work colleagues right after the devastating Haitian earthquake in response to a quote in a newspaper. “A British seismologist says the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti was "the big one" the Caribbean had been dreading.”

True to a point. It was a bad quake largely because of the population concentration coupled with the universally poor building construction in Haiti. Here’s the Richter scale below. A 7.0 quake just barely makes the “Major” category – this was almost a “Strong.” By comparison, the devastating Alaskan quake of 1964 was over 9.2 on the scale (second worst ever recorded in the world). Each full point on the Richter scale represents a 10x increase. So the Alaskan quake was 100x the magnitude of this Haitian quake. A 7.0 quake wouldn’t even make the Top 20 historic US quakes:

Can you imagine if a 9, or even 8 scale quake had hit Haiti? Al Gore should worry more about earthquakes than climate change (Wait, don’t go telling him that, he may follow your advice and try to muddy that arm of science as well). Scale:

Great  >8
Major 7.0 – 7.9
Strong 6.0 – 6.9
Moderate 5.0 – 5.9

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