Saturday, February 27, 2010

A tale of two earthquakes

So, Chile got hit by a big earthquake today, an 8.8 strength one.

Not exactly news, the largest earthquake ever recorded happened in Chile in 1960.

However, I think it interesting the disparity between the toll in Chile (first reports of 82 dead), and the damage in Haiti (230000 dead). Now, maybe the different between an 8.8 and a 7.0 doesn't seem all that big, but one has to bear in mind that the MMS Scale is a logarithmic scale, so a magnitude 9 earthquake is 31 times stronger than a magnitude 8, and almost ONE THOUSAND times stronger than a magnitude 7.

So, the damage caused by the two earthquakes are the inverse of the power of the earthquake (assuming the death count in Chile tops at around 200). What does this say about the disparate infrastructures, the money invested in earthquake proof architecture and other technology, and the oversight of government in large disasters?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ummmmm...population density?