500 aftershocks and counting, huge quake by comparison but less damage, watch report on Sunday’s 7.2 Mexicali quake

Posted By: Selma Al-Faqih on April 6, 2010 9:57 am

The recent Mexicali quake was 5 times as big as the Haitian quake and 10 times as big as the quake that rocked Northridge, Calif. in 1994.  Miraculously, this latest quake has only claimed 2 lives.

Why was this quake less damaging in comparison? Reports Sara Miller Llana of the Christian Science Monitor: The recent Mexicali quake was more powerful than the 7.0 earthquake that left more than 200,000 dead and more than 1 million homeless in Haiti on Jan.12. It was also a relatively shallow earthquake, at six miles underground, meaning there was less earth to absorb the shaking.

According to Wikipedia, The Northridge earthquake occurred on January 17, 1994 at 4:31 AM PST in Reseda, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, Ca. It lasted about 20 seconds. The earthquake had a “strong” moment magnitude of 6.7, but the ground acceleration was one of the highest ever instrumentally recorded in an urban area in North America. Seventy-two deaths were attributed to the earthquake, with over 9,000 injured. In addition, the earthquake caused an estimated $20 billion in damage, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.