Earthquake Radiated Energy as a Function of Magnitude |
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Magnitude | Amount of TNT to Produce Waves Similar to this Magnitude* |
Radiated Energy in Joules |
Notes | |

-3.0 | 0.001 | ounces | 0.200E+01 | 1.5 foot-pounds (18 inch-pounds) |

-2.0 | 0.032 | ounces | 0.631E+02 | 47 foot-pounds |

-1.0 | 1.0 | ounces | 0.200E+04 | 1,500 foot-pounds |

0.0 | 32 | ounces | 0.631E+05 | |

1.0 | 63 | pounds | 0.200E+07 | |

2.0 | 1 | ton | 0.631E+08 | Only felt nearby. |

3.0 | 32 | tons | 0.200E+10 | |

4.0 | 1 | kton | 0.631E+11 | Often felt up to 10's of miles away. |

5.0 | 32 | ktons | 0.200E+13 | |

6.0 | 1,000 | ktons | 0.631E+14 | |

6.9 | 22,500 | ktons | 0.141E+16 | 1995 Kobe, Japan, Earthquake |

7.0 | 32,000 | ktons | 0.200E+16 | |

8.0 | 1,000 | mtons | 0.631E+17 | |

9.0 | 32,000 | mtons | 0.200E+19 | |

9.2 | 64,000 | mtons | 0.398E+19 | 1964 Alaska Earthquake - Second largest instrumentally recorded earthquake |

9.5 | 180,000 | mtons | 0.112E+20 | 1960 Chile - Largest instrumentally recorded earthquake |

*This is the amount of TNT that would be required to generate ground shaking similar to an earthquake of each magnitude. This is based on the observation that a 1 kton explosion is approximately equivalent to a magnitude 4 earthquake.

More details on the calculation of these numbers may be found here.

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