Living in California, earthquakes become a common part of life. We have all felt them, and people are always talking about being ready for “The Big One”. But how strong does it have to be what do those earthquake numbers mean?

The Richter Scale was developed in 1935 by seismologists Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg of the California Institute of Technology. The scale assigns a number to quantify the size and energy of an earthquake based on readings from a seismometer. The scale starts at a base of value of 1 and increases depending on how much energy is released by the earthquake

For example, an earthquake that registers a 6.0 on the Richter scale has shaking that is 10 times greater than an earthquake registered at 5.0. In addition, the energy released proportionally to the shaking is raised to the 3/2 power. That means that an earthquake magnitude 6.0 releases 31.6 times as much energy as an earthquake of magnitude 5.0.

Earthquakes are happening all the time, but most of them are too small to be felt by people. Earthquakes with a magnitude between 1.0-3.9 are considered minor and typically do not cause any damage. Magnitude 4.0-5.9 are considered moderate. These are more noticeable and unsecured objects may fall over. Magnitude 6.0-7.9 are major earthquakes that can cause damage to buildings. Anything above 8.0 is considered catastrophic. At this point, severe damage can be caused to buildings and infrastructure. There will also be noticeable changes to the topography of the area.

So are you prepared in the event of a major earthquake? Along with gathering supplies, you should make sure you and your family are covered with earthquake insurance. For more information on earthquake insurance and how to protect you and your family, contact Palm Desert Insurance today!