The Richter Scale Explained in Dollars
Since the Richter scale is "logarithmic" it's hard to wrap one's head around what's going on and how much more powerful earthquakes get as they move up the scale. So what is going on?
In terms of energy released, each one point move up the Richter scale is 32 times more powerful than the previous number. Following is what this looks like in terms of dollars, starting with 1 being just $1.00. For a little additional perspective, the July 3, 2019 earthquake outside of Los Angeles was a 6.4 on the Richter scale. The second, larger one which struck on July 4, 2019 was a 7.1. This sounds like it was just a little stronger; when in fact, 11 TIMES more energy was released.
The 2011 Tohoku quake which created the tidal wave that took out Fukushima and killed over 16,000, was a 9 on the Richter scale. A 9 is the predicted strength of a quake in the Cascadia Subduction located just off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. A quake of 9 would be over 2,000 times stronger than the Northbridge quake that occurred 25 years ago in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles.