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USGS CMG InfoBank: Small Earthquakes

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Comment: 11:20 - 11:51 (00:31)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 9. Earthquakes
Keywords: "William Bakun", earthquake, magnitude, energy, "Loma Prieta Earthquake"

Our transcription: For example, a magnitude 5 earthquake releases about one-thirtieth of the energy of a magnitude 6 earthquake.
So to compare a magnitude 5 earthquake with a magnitude 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake is a factor of about 900 in terms of the energy released between those two earthquakes.
Small earthquakes really are insignificant in terms of the release of strain on the fault that is the cause of large damaging earthquakes.
Small earthquakes really tell you that a fault has enough stress on it to cause bigger earthquakes.

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