Earthquakes have great magnitude in that they are powerful. Their power is rated by their level of magnitude, or how much energy they release relative to other earthquakes.

In math, magnitude compares numbers by powers of 10. If your weekly allowance was $10, but your brother's was $100, his allowance would be one order of magnitude higher than yours. If your sister's was $10,000, hers would be three orders of magnitude higher. A difference of that magnitude is just not fair!

Definitions of magnitude
  1. noun
    the property of relative size or extent (whether large or small)
    “they tried to predict the magnitude of the explosion”
    “about the magnitude of a small pea”
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    absolute magnitude
    (astronomy) the magnitude that a star would have if it were viewed from a distance of 10 parsecs (32.62 light years) from the earth
    dimension, proportion
    magnitude or extent
    order, order of magnitude
    a degree in a continuum of size or quantity
    the magnitude of something in a particular direction (especially length or width or height)
    the seriousness of something (e.g., a burn or crime)
    greatness of magnitude
    the property of being multiple
    the property of being triple
    the physical magnitude of something (how big it is)
    a large magnitude
    bulk, mass, volume
    the property of something that is great in magnitude
    greatness of quantity or measure or extent
    intensity, intensity level, strength
    the amount of energy transmitted (as by acoustic or electromagnetic radiation)
    the relative magnitude of something with reference to a criterion
    the distance or area or volume over which something extends
    radio brightness
    the strength of a radio wave picked up by a radio telescope
    signal level
    the amplitude level of the desired signal
    background level, noise level
    the amplitude level of the undesired background noise
    threshold level
    the intensity level that is just barely perceptible
    field intensity, field strength
    the vector sum of all the forces exerted by an electrical or magnetic field (on a unit mass or unit charge or unit magnetic pole) at a given point in the field
    candlepower, light intensity
    luminous intensity measured in candelas
    acoustic power, sound pressure level
    the physical intensity of sound
    half the maximum intensity
    circumference, perimeter
    the size of something as given by the distance around it
    the dimension through an object as opposed to its length or width
    slenderness, tenuity, thinness
    relatively small dimension through an object as opposed to its length or width
    bigness, largeness
    the property of having a relatively great size
    littleness, smallness
    the property of having a relatively small size
    positiveness, positivity
    an amount greater than zero
    negativeness, negativity
    an amount less than zero
    critical mass
    the minimum amount (of something) required to start or maintain a venture
    an adequate or large amount
    increase, increment
    the amount by which something increases
    decrease, decrement
    the amount by which something decreases
    the property of being a relatively small amount
    dollar volume, turnover
    the volume measured in dollars
    deficiency, inadequacy, insufficiency
    lack of an adequate quantity or number
    an amount beyond the minimum necessary
    figure, number
    the property possessed by a sum or total or indefinite quantity of units or individuals
    the extent to which something is covered
    the extent of land abutting on a street or water
    bound, boundary, limit
    the greatest possible degree of something
    ambit, compass, orbit, range, reach, scope
    an area in which something acts or operates or has power or control: "the range of a supersonic jet"
    area, expanse, surface area
    the extent of a 2-dimensional surface enclosed within a boundary
    the linear extent in space from one end to the other; the longest dimension of something that is fixed in place
    distance, length
    size of the gap between two places
    the property of being the extent of something from beginning to end
    deepness, depth
    the extent downward or backward or inward
    breadth, width
    the extent of something from side to side
    height, tallness
    the vertical dimension of extension; distance from the base of something to the top
    third dimension
    the dimension whereby a solid object differs from a two-dimensional drawing of it
    fourth dimension, time
    the fourth coordinate that is required (along with three spatial dimensions) to specify a physical event
    type of:
    a basic or essential attribute shared by all members of a class
  2. noun
    relative importance
    “a problem of the first magnitude
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    extensiveness, largeness
    large or extensive in breadth or importance or comprehensiveness
    type of:
    the quality of being important and worthy of note
  3. noun
    a number assigned to the ratio of two quantities; two quantities are of the same order of magnitude if one is less than 10 times as large as the other; the number of magnitudes that the quantities differ is specified to within a power of 10
    synonyms: order of magnitude
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    type of:
    the relative magnitudes of two quantities (usually expressed as a quotient)
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