Scales for measuring earthquakes...

The Richter Scale is the best known scale for measuring the magnitude of earthquakes. The magnitude value is proportional to the logarithm of the amplitude of the strongest wave during an earthquake. A recording of 7, for example, indicates a disturbance with ground motion 10 times as large as a recording of 6. The energy released by an earthquake increases by a factor of 30 for every unit increase in the Richter scale. The table below gives the frequency of earthquakes and the effects of the earthquakes based on this scale. Richter scale no. < 3.4 3.5 - 4.2 4.3 - 4.8 4.9 - 5.4 5.5 - 6.1 6.2 6.9 7.0 - 7.3 7.4 - 7.9 > 8.0 No. of Typical effects of this magnitude earthquakes per year 800 000 30 000 4 800 1400 500 100 15 4 Detected only by seismometers Just about noticeable indoors Most people notice them, windows rattle. Everyone notices them, dishes may break, open doors swing. Slight damage to buildings, plaster cracks, bricks fall. Much damage to buildings: chimneys fall, houses move on foundations. Serious damage: bridges twist, walls fracture, buildings may collapse. Great damage, most buildings collapse.

One every 5 to 10 Total damage, surface waves seen, years objects thrown in the air.

These effects are assuming a shallow earthquake in a populated area. Earthquakes of large magnitude do not necessarily cause the most intense surface effects. The effect in a given region depends to a large degree on local surface and subsurface geologic conditions. An area of unstable ground (sand, clay, or other unconsolidated materials), for example, is likely to experience much more

movement of furniture. Now. and magnitude of an earthquake can be determined from the data recorded by seismograph stations. and finally . have magnitudes of 8. another scale called the moment magnitude scale has been devised for more precise study of great earthquakes.there are several thousand such shocks annually . Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale. Great earthquakes. Although numerousintensity scales have been developed over the last several hundred years to evaluate the effects of earthquakes. can detect strong earthquakes from sources anywhere in the world. On the Richter Scale.0 or higher. magnitude is expressed in whole numbers and decimal fractions. Seismographs record a zig-zag trace that shows the varying amplitude of ground oscillations beneath the instrument. At first. as an estimate of energy. This scale.3 might be computed for a moderate earthquake. The Richter Scale has no upper limit. composed of 12 increasing levels of intensity that range from imperceptible shaking to catastrophic destruction. Earthquakes with magnitude of about 2. instead it is an arbitrary ranking based on observed effects. which greatly magnify these ground motions. the one currently used in the United States is the Modified Mercalli (MM) Intensity Scale. The time. The lower numbers of the intensity scale generally deal with the manner in which the earthquake is felt by people. I. such as the 1964 Good Friday earthquake in Alaska. each whole number step in the magnitude scale corresponds to the release of about 31 times more energy than the amount associated with the preceding whole number value. It does not have a mathematical basis. The Richter Magnitude Scale Seismic waves are the vibrations from earthquakes that travel through the Earth. The magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs. The Richter Scale is not used to express damage. On the average. magnitude can be computed from the record of any calibrated seismograph. Sensitive seismographs. The Richter magnitude scale was developed in 1935 by Charles F. The higher numbers of the scale are based on observed structural damage. they are recorded on instruments called seismographs. An earthquake in a densely populated area which results in many deaths and considerable damage may have the same magnitude as a shock in a remote area that does nothing more than frighten the wildlife. Recently. Events with magnitudes of about 4. For example. It was developed in 1931 by the American seismologists Harry Wood and Frank Neumann.0 or less are usually called microearthquakes.noticeable effects than an area equally distant from an earthquake's epicentre but underlain by firm ground such as granite.are strong enough to be recorded by sensitive seismographs all over the world. each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude. Thus. one earthquake of such size occurs somewhere in the world each year. Adjustments are included for the variation in the distance between the various seismographs and the epicenter of the earthquakes. . is designated by Roman numerals. Richter of the California Institute of Technology as a mathematical device to compare the size of earthquakes. The intensity scale consists of a series of certain key responses such as people awakening. and a strong earthquake might be rated as magnitude 6. the Richter Scale could be applied only to the records from instruments of identical manufacture. they are not commonly felt by people and are generally recorded only on local seismographs. The Modified Mercalli Intensity value assigned to a specific site after an earthquake has a more meaningful measure of severity to the nonscientist than the magnitude because intensity refers to the effects actually experienced at that place. damage to chimneys. The following is an abbreviated description of the 12 levels of Modified Mercalli intensity. Not felt except by a very few under especially favorable conditions. The Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale The effect of an earthquake on the Earth's surface is called the intensity. Structural engineers usually contribute information for assigning intensity values of VIII or above. Largemagnitude earthquakes that occur beneath the oceans may not even be felt by humans.total destruction. instruments are carefully calibrated with respect to each other. locations. a magnitude 5.3.5 or greater .

IV. III. II. some chimneys broken. considerable damage in ordinary substantial buildings with partial collapse. considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures. the free encyclopedia The Rossi–Forel scale was one of the first seismic scales to reflect earthquake intensities. walls. Felt generally by everyone. Some dishes. the shock felt by an experienced observer. oscillation of chandeliers. ruins. Damage great in poorly built structures. disturbance of furniture and beds. Bridges destroyed. slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures.II. ringing of some bells. most masonry and frame structures destroyed with foundations. walls make cracking sound. well-designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. cracks in the walls of buildings. Unstable objects overturned. factory stacks. disturbance of moveable objects. This system is still being used by some countries. VIII. 1883 Rossi-Forel Scale of Earthquake Intensity           I. columns. Developed by Michele Stefano Conte de Rossi of Italy and François-Alphonse Forel of Switzerland in the late 19th century. windows. strong enough for the duration or direction to be appreciable. Damage total. including the Philippines. felt by a small number of persons at rest. XII. Rossi–Forel scale From Wikipedia. V. Sensation like heavy truck striking building. Felt by nearly everyone. with partial collapse. Duration estimated. visible disturbance of trees and shrubs. Standing motor cars may rock slightly. Felt indoors by many. Felt by several persons at rest. Damage considerable in specially designed structures. without damage to buildings VIII. fall of plaster. creaking of floors. Standing motor cars rocked noticeably. V. Damage great in substantial buildings. Felt by all. VI. IV. Vibrations similar to the passing of a truck. Overthrow of moveable objects. fissures in the earth's crust. Rails bent greatly. Pendulum clocks may stop. windows broken. Fall of chimneys. VII. if any (masonry) structures remain standing. The 1873 version of the Rossi–Forel scale had 10 intensity levels: . Many people do not recognize it as an earthquake. general panic. XI. stopping of clocks. especially on upper floors of buildings. Damage negligible in buildings of good design and construction. IX. Lines of sight and level are distorted. monuments. Dishes. Rails bent. Felt only by a few persons at rest. Buildings shifted off foundations. many awakened. X. Felt by several persons in motion. a few instances of fallen plaster. Recorded by seismographs of different kinds. it was used for about two decades until the introduction of the Mercalli intensity scale in 1902. Fall of chimneys. doors. At night. Damage slight in specially designed structures. general ringing of bells. Partial or total destruction of some buildings. Recorded by a single seismograph or by some seismographs of the same pattern. ringing of churchbells. Some heavy furniture moved. many frightened. Objects thrown into the air. Damage slight. General awakening of those asleep. Felt quite noticeably by persons indoors. X. but not by several seismographs of different kinds. some startled persons leave their dwellings. VI. windows. III. VII. doors disturbed. disturbance of strata. rockfalls from mountains. Great disasters. Heavy furniture overturned. IX. some awakened. especially on upper floors of buildings. Some well-built wooden structures destroyed. outdoors by few during the day. Few.

disturbance of the strata. Extremely strong shock.  II. No damage to buildings. General ringing of bells.  VI. ringing of some bells. Fairly strong shock. fall of plaster. visible agitation of trees and shrubs. windows. Very strong shock. Shock of moderate intensity. Great disaster. Disturbance of furniture. IX. Fall of chimneys. Felt by a small number of persons at rest. Very feeble shock. General awakening of those asleep. Disturbance of movable objects. Felt by several persons at rest. cracks in the walls of buildings. ringing of church bells. cracking of ceilings. stopping of clocks. General panic. but not by several seismographs of different kinds. Strong enough for the direction or duration to be appreciable. Recorded by several seismographs of different kinds.    VIII. Felt by persons in motion. Feeble shock.  IV. Some startled persons leaving their dwellings.  III. Felt generally by everyone. Shock of extreme intensity. Microseismic shock.  VII. X. Partial or total destruction of some buildings. rock falls from mountains. ruins. Overthrow of movable objects. fissures in the ground. The shock felt by an experienced observer. . Strong shock. Extremely feeble shock.  V. I. doors. Recorded by a single seismograph or by seismographs of the same model. Oscillation of chandeliers.

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