INFOGRAPHIC: How powerful is a 7.2-magnitude earthquake?

Michael Bueza

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The seismic energy generated by the 7.2-magnitude quake is equal to 3.98 petajoules, or the same as 63.5 atomic bombs or 1.90 billion sticks of dynamite

MANILA, Philippines – Just how powerful was the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu and the rest of Central Visayas on Tuesday, October 15?

It is the first strong earthquake to hit Bohol since February 1990. (MAP: Strongest earthquakes in the Philippines), and the most recent major quake to shake the country 23 years after the 7.8-magnitude Luzon tremor. 

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum compared the energy of Tuesday’s earthquake to that of 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs.

In fact, the quake that has so far left 107 people dead, affected more than 2.8 million, and damaged structures like centuries-old churches was more powerful than that.

It was equivalent to 63.5 Hiroshima atomic bombs, Rappler discovered with the help of two online earthquake energy “calculators” (click here and here).

The energy released by the Visayas quake was also equivalent to that of 951.5 kilotons of TNT, 796,214 lightning flashes, 30.16 million gallons of gasoline, or 1.90 billion sticks of dynamite.

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.