Just for next time

So, the size and effect of a 0.4 earthquake.

What’s the best “it’s like a cat the next block over slapping a mouse” sorta comparison?

23 thoughts on “Just for next time”

  1. An earthquake with a magnitude of 0.4 releases 251,188 joules of energy, with an equivalent of 60 grams of TNT.

    It’s the equivalent of a Tesco Value firework.

  2. I know from personal experience that a 3-4ish earthquake and a heavy truck going past on the highway are almost indistinguishable. I grew up in a volcanic zone and if we felt that kind of rattle we had to check the cupboard to find out – all cups swinging, it was an earthquake. An 0.4 is how many orders of magnitude less than that?

  3. “Somebody felt something” on the Richter scale.

    At least they think they did; they’re not really sure.

    30+ years ago, when I lived in VA, I occasionally thought I felt earthquakes. I eventually figured out it was the National Guard at Fort Pickett, 25 miles away, shooting their artillery.

    From “the Left’s shi+ don’t stink department,”
    we are to accept the din of wind turbines, but not the hardly perceptible alleged earthquakes from fracking.

  4. “Earthquake” is a very bad choice of word (or very good depending on the impression you want to create). People just ignore the 0.4, see ‘earthquake’ and imagine skyscrapers falling over.

    You can stand in the basement of Foyles bookshop in London and feel the tremor of trains on the Northern Line below you, which must be at least 30m down. That tremor is way,way,way more powerful than a “0.4 earthquake” but if you described it as an earthquake people would laugh at you.

  5. There are two issues with “next-door’s dog farting”. Firstly, how far away is next door, and secondly how effective are its bowels.
    As another commentator has noted, a Richter magnitude of 0.4 is about 250kJ, or ~100g of black (gun)powder. Let’s assume next-door’s dog is 10-20m away, 100 times closer than the epicentre of the fracking ‘earthquake’. Now, fracking is going on 1-2km down and the effect of a shockwave reduces with square of distance so our 100g of black powder will need to be 10,000x the dog’s fart; hence the dog’s fart would need to equate to 10mg of black powder, which, conveniently is about 2/3 of a party popper (16mg). So we can safely say that a LM0.4 earthquake with an epicentre 1-2km down is going to be around 65% of next-door’s dog setting off a party popper (assuming detached houses; for peeps living in flats or terraced houses, it’s the dog* 2 or 3 doors down the street because the houses are closer together)

    *other pets available on request.

  6. There’s a handy converter over at The Register, although sadly lacking any Richter type measurements.

    Very useful for converting e.g. KpH into Percentage of maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum.

  7. Bloke in Costa Rica

    0.4? Zero point four? There aren’t really any apt comparisons for how large that is because it’s so far below the threshold of perception as to be indistinguishable from zero (or, since it’s a log scale, minus infinity). For reference, 250 kJ is about the food energy in a boiled egg.

  8. @ Gamecock
    “ten billion butterfly sneezes”.

    The lyrics of that song were so sadly over optimistic weren’t they.

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