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Thursday, January 14, 2010


On average, there are around eighteen 7.0-7.9 Richter Scale (RS) size earthquakes each year. The 7.0 that struck Haiti was therefore nothing special.

Earthquake Location

However, the devastation is looking worse and worse.

The American Red Cross estimates a fatality range of from 45,000 to 50,000, but Haitian government officials have reported from 50,000 to 500,000. The 26Dec04 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami toll was around 230,000. The Great Shaanxi (China) Earthquake of 1556 killed 830,000.

The highest recorded earthquake of 9.5 (on the Richter Scale) occurred in Chile in 1960, the equivalent of 178,000,000,000 tons of TNT, or 178 gigatons (GT). An earthquake of this general size occurs every 20 or so years. A 7.0 earthquake is only worth 0.032 GT. That Indian Ocean earthquake was rated at 9.1 RS or 67 GT.

To appreciate how large the above figures are, the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb was 0.000015 GT. All the nuclear devices ever exploded add up to 0.5 GT of TNT.

Remember the Yucatan Peninsula asteroid around 65 million years ago, the one responsible for extinctioning the dinosaurs? That would have rated 13 on the RS, or a TNT equivalent of 100,000 GT.

The Dow Jones Industrials rose 30 to 10,710, while Europe was mostly up and the Orient down. Gold increased $2/toz to $1144 and crude oil is at $79/barrel. (Henceforth, if the DJI goes up, I'll use green; if down, then red.)

In case anyone is looking for me on the Manoa Campus, I this week moved from POST 413B to 103B. My room currently has no I went to the SONY Open. That's Tadd Fujikawa addressing his ball on the 9th hole (his last for the day, for he led off on #10). He went on to reach the green in two and got a birdie.

It was a gorgeous day in Honolulu, with temperatures in the high 70's, a slight breeze and a lot of sun. Aloha.


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