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Frequency of Earthquakes Worldwide

The following table lists the frequency of earthquakes worldwide, according to magnitude and annual average.

Descriptor Magnitude Annual average
Great 8 or higher 11
Major 7–7.9 172
Strong 6–6.9 1342
Moderate 5–5.9 1,3192
Light 4–4.9 c. 13,000
Minor 3–3.9 c. 130,000
Very minor 2–2.9 c. 1,300,000
1. Based on observations since 1900. 2. Based on observations since 1990. NOTE: The NEIC estimates that several million earthquakes occur in the world each year. Many go undetected because they hit remote areas or have very small magnitudes.
Source: National Earthquake Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey.

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Severity of an Earthquake Earthquakes Number of Earthquakes Worldwide, 1990–2007, and Mortality Figures

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