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POW 7 - Earthquakes

Earthquakes are typically described using the logarithmic Richter scale. This means that
instead of describing intensity, the Richter scale describes the magnitude of an earthquake.
This is done using the formula
intensity of the quake in

where R is the Richter magnitude and I is the actual

. (yes, there are units of intensity)

Pre-lab questions:
A. If an earthquake has an intensity of
Scale?
log(782,300) = 5.9 magnitude

, what is its magnitude on the Richter

B. Colorados largest earthquake in the last hundred years was a 5.3. What was the
intensity?
5.3 = log(I)
I = 199526.23
In 2010, a 7.0 quake hit Haiti and the death toll is estimated around 150,000 people.
Seismologists anticipate an earthquake off the coast of Oregon or Washington in the next 50
years that could be up to 9.2.
1) How much more intense would this quake be than the earthquake in Haiti? Present your
answer as a factor, for example three times more intense! Oh my!
log(I) = 7.0
107 = I
I = 10,000,000
Log(I) = 9.2
109.2 = I
I = 1584893192.5
158.5 times more intense! Oh my!
2) If the earthquake is only half as intense as predicted, what will it be on the Richter scale?
1584893192.5 / 2 = 792,446,596.25
log(792,446,596.25) = 8.9
-----I thought these were more pre-lab questions..
Whoops Dan, I still went back and filled out the stages, just did them after I already solved the
problem because I thought it was another pre-lab question.

Stage 1 - Understanding the problem

Known Values:
A 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti
Seismologists anticipate a 9.2 earthquake hitting off the coast of the Pacific Northwest

Pre-lab answers:
A: 5.9 Magnitude
B: 199,526.23 Intensity

Variables:
Intensity of a 7.0 earthquake
Intensity of a 9.2 earthquake
Difference in intensity as a factor
Magnitude of 9.2 earthquake with 50% intensity

Final goal:
Identify how much more intense the 9.2 earthquake is as a factor
Identify the magnitude of the 9.2 earthquake if it was only half as intense

Stage 2 - Developing a plan

A helpful tool will be:


Knowing how to use logarithms
Being able to solve logarithms backwards (i.e. log(x) = 9.2 )

Rough prediction:
This is the only part I cant do because I accidentally solved it all first thinking it was a pre-lab
question

Stage 3 - Solving the problem


Step

Explanation

log(I) = 7.0
107 = I
I = 10,000,000
Log(I) = 9.2
109.2 = I
I = 1584893192.5

Solved for the intensity of the 7.2 earthquake


and the 9.2 earthquake.

1584893192.5
/
10,000,000
= 158.5

Solved for the factor of difference in intensity


by dividing the 9.2 earthquake intensity by
that of the 7.0 one.

1584893192.5 / 2 = 792,446,596.25

Divided the 9.2 earthquake intensity in half.

log(792,446,596.25) = 8.9

Took the logarithm of the intensity to find


what the richter magnitude would be.

Stage 4 - Answer the problem


Solution(s):
1): 158.5 times more intense! Oh my!
2): 8.9 magnitude
Reflection:

I liked this Pow a lot actually. Other than me mistaking the POW question itself for a pre-lab
question I would say that it went pretty smoothly too. I felt more than prepared and supplied with
the tools to solve the problem, which made it quite easy in fact.