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City of Malolos, Bulacan

GROUP 5: Earthquake Descriptors: Earthquake Magnitude; Seismic Moment; Seismic

Energy; The Centroid Moment Tensor Project; Magnitude and Faulting; Foreshocks,

Aftershocks, and Swarms; Seismic Intensity (Rossi-Forrel Scale, Modified Mercalli Scale,

USSR GEOFAN Scale, MSK-64 Scale).

Submitted by:

CABIGAO, Ace Mark C.

CORREA, David Mark B.

DE SILVA, Angelica Collene M.

GERONA, Raywin F.

MANA-AY, Dave Anthony A.


Submitted to:

Engr. Jennie C. Roque

The magnitude is a number that characterizes the relative size of an earthquake. Magnitude

is based on measurement of the maximum motion recorded by a seismograph. Several scales have

been defined, but the most commonly used are:

Richter magnitude

The Richter magnitude scale is used for measuring the strength or size of earthquakes refers

to the original "magnitude scale" developed by Charles F. Richter and presented in his landmark

1935 paper, and later revised and renamed the Local Magnitude scale, denoted as "ML" or "ML".

The Richter magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude

of waves recorded by seismographs. The original formula is:

ML = log10 A - log10 A0 (𝛿) = log10 [A/A0 (𝛿)]

where A is the maximum excursion of the Wood-Anderson seismograph, the empirical

function A0 depends only on the epicentral distance of the station, 𝛿. In practice, readings from all

observing stations are averaged after adjustment with station-specific corrections to obtain the ML

Average frequency

Magnitude Description Average earthquake effects of occurrence


Microearthquakes, not felt, or felt rarely. Continual/several

1.0–1.9 Micro
Recorded by seismographs. million per year

Felt slightly by some people. No damage to Over one million

buildings. per year

Often felt by people, but very rarely causes
Over 100,000 per
3.0–3.9 damage. Shaking of indoor objects can be

Noticeable shaking of indoor objects and

rattling noises. Felt by most people in the

affected area. Slightly felt outside. Generally,

10,000 to 15,000
4.0–4.9 Light causes none to minimal damage. Moderate to
per year
significant damage very unlikely. Some

objects may fall off shelves or be knocked

Can cause damage of varying severity to

poorly constructed buildings. At most, none to 1,000 to 1,500 per

5.0–5.9 Moderate
slight damage to all other buildings. Felt by year


Damage to a moderate number of well-built

structures in populated areas. Earthquake

resistant structures survive with slight to

moderate damage. Poorly designed structures

6.0–6.9 Strong 100 to 150 per year
receive moderate to severe damage. Felt in

wider areas; up to hundreds of

miles/kilometers from the epicenter. Strong to

violent shaking in epicentral area.

Causes damage to most buildings, some to

partially or completely collapse or receive

severe damage. Well-designed structures are

7.0–7.9 Major 10 to 20 per year
likely to receive damage. Felt across great

distances with major damage mostly limited to

250 km from epicenter.

Major damage to buildings, structures likely to

be destroyed. Will cause moderate to heavy

8.0–8.9 damage to sturdy or earthquake-resistant One per year

buildings. Damaging in large areas. Felt in

extremely large regions.


At or near total destruction – severe damage or

9.0 and collapse to all buildings. Heavy damage and One per 10 to 50

greater shaking extends to distant locations. years

Permanent changes in ground topography.

Surface-Wave Magnitude

The surface wave magnitude (MS) scale is one of the magnitude scales used in

seismology to describe the size of an earthquake. It is based on measurements in Rayleigh

surface waves that travel primarily along the uppermost layers of the Earth. It is currently used

in People's Republic of China as a national standard (GB 17740-1999) for categorizing


Surface wave magnitude was initially developed in the 1950s by the same researchers

who developed the local magnitude scale ML in order to improve resolution on larger

Body-Wave Magnitude

Body-Wave Magnitude (MB) calculates the magnitude of primary and secondary seismic

waves traveling within Earth.

A P-wave is one of the two main types of elastic body waves, called seismic waves in

seismology. P-waves travel faster than other seismic waves and hence are the first signal from

an earthquake to arrive at any affected location or at a seismograph. P-waves may be

transmitted through gases, liquids, or solids.

In seismology, S-waves, secondary waves, or shear waves are type of elastic wave, and are

one of the two main types of elastic body waves, so named because they move through the

body of an object.

Moment Magnitude

The moment magnitude scale (Mw or Mw) developed by Kanamori (1977) and Hanks &

Kanamori (1979), is based on an earthquake's seismic moment, M0.

The moment magnitude (Mw) scale, based on the concept of seismic moment, is uniformly

applicable to all sizes of earthquakes but is more difficult to compute than the other types.

MW = (log M0 – 9.05) / 1.5


The seismic moment is a measure of the size of an earthquake based on the area of fault rupture,

the average amount of slip, and the force that was required to overcome the friction sticking the

rocks together that were offset by faulting. Seismic moment can also be calculated from the

amplitude spectra of seismic waves.

The concept of seismic moment was introduced in 1966 by Keiiti Aki, a professor of

geophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Using detailed field studies of the 1964

Niigata earthquake and data from a new generation of seismographs in the World-Wide

Standardized Seismograph Network (WWSSN), he first confirmed that an earthquake is "a release

of accumulated strain energy by a rupture", and that this can be modeled by a "double couple".

With further analysis he showed how the energy radiated by seismic waves can be used to estimate

the energy released by the earthquake. This was done using seismic moment, defined as

M0 = μūS

with μ being the rigidity of moving a fault with a surface area over an average dislocation or

distance of ū. Modern formulations replace μūS with the equivalent D̄A, known as the geometric

moment or potency. By this equation the moment determined from the double couple of the seismic

waves can be related to the moment calculated from knowledge of the surface area of fault slippage
and the amount of slip. In the case of the Niigata earthquake the dislocation estimated from the

seismic moment reasonably approximated the observed dislocation.


What is Seismic Energy?

Seismic waves or Seismic Energy are waves of energy that travel through the Earth's layers,

and are a result of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, magma movement, large landslides and large

man-made explosions that give out low-frequency acoustic energy. Many other natural and

anthropogenic sources create low-amplitude waves commonly referred to as ambient vibrations.

Seismic waves are studied by geophysicists called seismologists. Seismic wave fields are recorded

by a seismometer, hydrophone (in water), or accelerometer.

What are the types of Seismic Waves?

Among the many types of seismic waves, one can make a broad distinction between body

waves, which travel through the Earth, and surface waves, which travel at the Earth's surface.

• Body waves travel through the interior of the Earth.

• Surface waves travel across the surface. Surface waves decay more slowly with distance

than body waves, which travel in three dimensions.

• Particle motion of surface waves is larger than that of body waves, so surface waves tend

to cause more damage.

Body waves

Body waves travel through the interior of the Earth along paths controlled by the material

properties in terms of density and modulus (stiffness). The density and modulus, in turn, vary

according to temperature, composition, and material phase. This effect resembles the refraction of

light waves. Two types of particle motion result in two types of body waves: Primary and

Secondary waves.

A. Primary waves

Primary waves (P-waves) are compressional waves that are longitudinal in nature.

P waves are pressure waves that travel faster than other waves through the earth to arrive

at seismograph stations first, hence the name "Primary". These waves can travel through
any type of material, including fluids, and can travel nearly 1.7 times faster than the S

waves. In air, they take the form of sound waves, hence they travel at the speed of sound.

Typical speeds are 330 m/s in air, 1450 m/s in water and about 5000 m/s in granite.

B. Secondary waves

Secondary waves (S-waves) are shear waves that are transverse in nature.

Following an earthquake event, S-waves arrive at seismograph stations after the faster-

moving P-waves and displace the ground perpendicular to the direction of propagation.

Depending on the propagational direction, the wave can take on different surface

characteristics; for example, in the case of horizontally polarized S waves, the ground

moves alternately to one side and then the other. S-waves can travel only through solids,

as fluids (liquids and Agases) do not support shear stresses. S-waves are slower than P-

waves, and speeds are typically around 60% of that of P-waves in any given material.

Surface waves

Seismic surface waves travel along the Earth's surface. They can be classified as a form of

mechanical surface waves. They are called surface waves, as they diminish as they get further from

the surface. They travel more slowly than seismic body waves (P and S). In large earthquakes,

surface waves can have an amplitude of several centimeters.

A. Rayleigh waves

Rayleigh waves, also called ground roll, are surface waves that travel as ripples

with motions that are similar to those of waves on the surface of water (note, however, that

the associated particle motion at shallow depths is retrograde, and that the restoring force

in Rayleigh and in other seismic waves is elastic, not gravitational as for water waves). The
existence of these waves was predicted by John William Strutt, Lord Rayleigh, in 1885.

They are slower than body waves, roughly 90% of the velocity of S waves for typical

homogeneous elastic media. In a layered medium (like the crust and upper mantle) the

velocity of the Rayleigh waves depends on their frequency and wavelength. See also Lamb


B. Love waves

Love waves are horizontally polarized shear waves (SH waves), existing only in

the presence of a semi-infinite medium overlain by an upper layer of finite thickness. They

are named after A.E.H. Love, a British mathematician who created a mathematical model

of the waves in 1911. They usually travel slightly faster than Rayleigh waves, about 90%

of the S wave velocity, and have the largest amplitude.

What causes seismic waves?

Seismic waves are mostly caused by earthquakes, although they can also be created by explosions

- something that is mainly used in geological research.

What produces seismic waves?

Seismic waves occur when earthquakes happen. The seismic waves are what scientists use the

measure how strong the earthquake was on the Richter scale.


Moment Tensor

Event locations and magnitudes give limited insight into the processes that control the

growth and dynamics of hydraulic fractures. Our understanding of reservoir behavior can be

enhanced by considering the seismic moment tensor representations of these events, which serve

as a direct snapshot of the instantaneous deformation of the surrounding rock by the seismicity.

A mathematical representation of the movement on a fault during an earthquake,

comprising of nine generalized couples, or nine sets of two vectors. The tensor depends of the

source strength and fault orientation. It is often represented with "beach balls" just like the focal

mechanism (or fault plane solution).

The nine generalized couples of the seismic moment tensor. Modified after Aki and

Richards (1980).
Focal Mechanisms

Seismologists refer to the direction of

slip in an earthquake and the orientation of the

fault on which it occurs as the focal mechanism.

They use information from seismograms to

calculate the focal mechanism and typically

display it on maps as a "beach ball" symbol. This

symbol is the projection on a horizontal plane of

the lower half of an imaginary, spherical shell

(focal sphere) surrounding the earthquake

source (A). A line is scribed where the fault

plane intersects the shell. The stress-field

orientation at the time of rupture governs the direction of slip on the fault plane, and the beach ball

also depicts this stress orientation. In this schematic, the gray quadrants contain the tension axis

(T), which reflects the minimum compressive stress direction, and the white quadrants contain the

pressure axis (P), which reflects the maximum compressive stress direction. The computed focal

mechanisms show only the P and T axes and do not use shading.

These focal mechanisms are computed using a method that attempts to find the best fit to

the direction of P-first motions observed at each station. For a double-couple source mechanism

(or only shear motion on the fault plane), the compression first-motions should lie only in the

quadrant containing the tension axis, and the dilatation first-motions should lie only in the quadrant

containing the pressure axis. However, first-motion observations will frequently be in the wrong

quadrant. This occurs because a) the algorithm assigned an incorrect first-motion direction because
the signal was not impulsive, b) the earthquake velocity model, and hence, the earthquake location

is incorrect, so that the computed position of the first-motion observation on the focal sphere (or

ray azimuth and angle of incidence with respect to vertical) is incorrect, or c) the seismometer is

mis-wired, so that "up" is "down". The latter explanation is not a common occurrence. For

mechanisms computed using only first-motion directions, these incorrect first-motion observations

may greatly affect the computed focal mechanism parameters. Depending on the distribution and

quality of first-motion data, more than one focal mechanism solution may fit the data equally well.

For mechanisms calculated from first-motion directions as well as some methods that

model waveforms, there is an ambiguity in identifying the fault plane on which slip occurred from

the orthogonal, mathematically equivalent, auxiliary plane. We illustrate this ambiguity with four

examples (B). The block diagrams adjacent to each focal mechanism illustrate the two possible

types of fault motion that the focal mechanism could represent. Note that the view angle is 30-

degrees to the left of and above each diagram. The ambiguity may sometimes be resolved by

comparing the two fault-plane orientations to the alignment of small earthquakes and aftershocks.

The first three examples describe fault motion that is purely horizontal (strike slip) or vertical

(normal or reverse). The oblique-reverse mechanism illustrates that slip may also have components

of horizontal and vertical motion.

Introduction and Explanation of The Centroid Moment Tensor Project

The Global Centroid-Moment-Tensor (CMT) Project is overseen by Principal Investigator

Göran Ekström and Co-Principal Investigator Meredith Nettles at the Lamont-Doherty Earth

Observatory (LDEO) of Columbia University. The project was founded by Adam Dziewonski at
Harvard University and operated there as the Harvard CMT Project from 1982-2006, led first by

Prof. Dziewonski and later by Prof. Ekström. During the summer of 2006, the activities of the

CMT Project moved with Prof. Ekström to LDEO. This research effort moves forward under the

name "The Global CMT Project". The main dissemination point for information and results from

the project is the web site

The CMT project has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation since

its inception, and is currently supported by award EAR-16-39131.

Shallow earthquakes, 1976-2005.

The Global CMT Project involves four main activites:

1. Systematic determination, with a three-to-four-month delay, of moment tensors for

earthquakes with M>5 globally, and accumulation of the results in the CMT catalog.
2. Rapid determination of moment tensors for earthquakes with M>5.5 globally and quick

dissemination of results ("quick CMTs").

3. Curation of the CMT catalog, which contains more than 25,000 moment tensors for

earthquakes since 1976.

4. Development and implementation of improved methods for the quantification of

earthquake source characteristics on a global scale.



A foreshock is an earthquake that occurs before a larger seismic event (the mainshock) and

is related to it in both time and space. The designation of an earthquake as foreshock, mainshock

or aftershock is only possible after the full sequence of events has happened.

Foreshock activity has been detected for about 40% of all moderate to large earthquakes,

and about 70% for events of M>7.0. They occur from a matter of minutes to days or even longer

before the main shock; for example, the 2002 Sumatra earthquake is regarded as a foreshock of

the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake with a delay of more than two years between the two events.

Some great earthquakes (M>8.0) show no foreshock activity at all, such as the M8.6 1950 India -

China earthquake.

The observation of foreshocks associated with many earthquakes suggests that they are

part of a preparation process prior to nucleation. In one model of earthquake rupture, the process

forms as a cascade, starting with a very small event that triggers a larger one, continuing until the

main shock rupture is triggered. However, analysis of some foreshocks has shown that they tend

to relieve stress around the fault. In this view, foreshocks and aftershocks are part of the same

process. This is supported by an observed relationship between the rate of foreshocks and the rate

of aftershocks for an event.

An increase in seismic activity in an area has been used as a method of predicting

earthquakes, most notably in the case of the 1975 Haicheng earthquake in China, where an

evacuation was triggered by an increase in activity. However, most earthquakes lack obvious

foreshock patterns and this method has not proven useful, as most small earthquakes are not
foreshocks, leading to probable false alarms. In short, foreshocks are earthquakes that precede

larger earthquakes in the same location. An earthquake cannot be identified as a foreshock until

after a larger earthquake in the same area occurs.

Worldwide the probability that an earthquake will be followed within 3 days by a large

earthquake nearby is somewhere just over 6%. In California, that probability is about 6%. This

means that there is about a 94% chance that any earthquake will NOT be a foreshock. In California,

about half of the biggest earthquakes were preceded by foreshocks; the other half were not. At this

time, we cannot tell whether or not an earthquake is a foreshock until something larger happens

after it.


Aftershocks are smaller earthquakes that occur in the same general area during the days to

years following a larger event or "mainshock." They occur within 1-2 fault lengths away and

during the period of time before the background seismicity level has resumed. As a general rule,

aftershocks represent minor readjustments along the portion of a fault that slipped at the time of

the mainshock. The frequency of these aftershocks decreases with time. Historically, deep

earthquakes (>30 km) are much less likely to be followed by aftershocks than shallow earthquakes.

Large earthquakes can have hundreds to thousands of instrumentally detectable aftershocks, which

steadily decrease in magnitude and frequency according to known laws.

Most aftershocks are located over the full area of fault rupture and either occur along the

fault plane itself or along other faults within the volume affected by the strain associated with the

main shock. Typically, aftershocks are found up to a distance equal to the rupture length away
from the fault plane. Aftershocks are dangerous because they are usually unpredictable, can be of

a large magnitude, and can collapse buildings that are damaged from the main shock. Bigger

earthquakes have more and larger aftershocks and the sequences can last for years or even longer

especially when a large event occurs in a seismically quiet area

Aftershock Size and Frequency with Time

1. Omori’s Law

The frequency of aftershocks decreases roughly with the reciprocal of time

after the main shock. This empirical relation was first described by Fusakichi Omori

in 1894 and is known as Omori's law. It is expressed as:

𝑛(𝑡) =
(𝑐 + 𝑡)

where k and c are constants, which vary between earthquake sequences. A modified

version of Omori's law, now commonly used, was proposed by Utsu in 1961.

𝑛(𝑡) =
(𝑐 + 𝑡)𝑝

where p is a third constant which modifies the decay rate and typically falls in the

range 0.7–1.5.

According to these equations, the rate of aftershocks decreases quickly with

time. The rate of aftershocks is proportional to the inverse of time since the

mainshock and this relationship can be used to estimate the probability of future

aftershock occurrence. These patterns describe only the statistical behavior of

aftershocks; the actual times, numbers and locations of the aftershocks are

stochastic, while tending to follow these patterns. As this is an empirical law, values

of the parameters are obtained by fitting to data after a mainshock has occurred,

and they imply no specific physical mechanism in any given case.

2. Båth's law

The other main law describing aftershocks is known as Båth's Law and this

states that the difference in magnitude between a main shock and its largest

aftershock is approximately constant, independent of the main shock magnitude,

typically 1.1–1.2 on the Moment magnitude scale.

3. Gutenberg–Richter law

Aftershock sequences also typically follow the Gutenberg–Richter law of

size scaling, which refers to the relationship between the magnitude and total

number of earthquakes in a region in a given time period. In summary, there are

more small aftershocks and fewer large aftershocks.

𝑁 = 10𝑎−𝑏𝑀


 N is the number of events greater or equal to M

 M is the magnitude

 a and b are constants


The mainshock is the largest earthquake in a sequence, sometimes preceded by one or more

foreshocks, and almost always followed by many aftershocks. Here is a graphical representation

of the full series of the events of foreshock-mainshock-aftershock sequence from the USGS (U.S.

Geological Survey) website:

In summary, foreshocks are earthquakes that occur before the largest seismic event.

Foreshocks only prepares the faulting of the crust and then followed by the mainshock. The

mainshock is the largest earthquake in magnitude that affect the crust of the earth and induce

faulting. And lastly, a series of aftershocks follow to help the crust of the earth adjust to the its

new form.
Earthquake Swarms

Earthquake swarms are events where a local area experiences sequences of many

earthquakes striking in a relatively short period of time. The length of time used to define the

swarm itself varies, but may be of the order of days, weeks, or months. Numerous earthquakes

occur locally over an extended period without a clear sequence of foreshocks, main quakes and

aftershocks. They are therefore nothing extraordinary. Swarms usually end after a few days or

months. Only seldom does the strength and number of earthquakes increase over time or do occur

single, damaging events. How an earthquake swarm develops over time is just as difficult to predict

as earthquakes are in general.

Many earthquake swarms occur in regions with complex contiguous fracture systems. The

theory is that they are related to the movement of fluid gases and liquids in the Earth’s crust.

In 2017, the Philippine province of Batangas experienced an earthquake swarm with

magnitudes between 5 and 6. The quake was felt in varying intensities in surrounding areas and as

far as Manila’s financial district of Makati. The movement was felt in varying intensities in about

40 towns in Batangas, Laguna, Cavite and Quezon and in metropolitan Manila. Nearly 800 small

aftershocks were reported but they were too weak to trigger a tsunami.

Here is a diagram to further understand its difference from the normal sequencing of


The Rossi-Forel Scale of Earthquake Intensity

The Rossi–Forel scale was one of the first seismic scales to reflect earthquake intensities.

Developed by Michele Stefano Conte de Rossi of Italy and François-Alphonse Forel of

Switzerland in the late 19th century, it was used for about two decades until the introduction of the

Mercalli intensity scale in 1902.

The Rossi–Forel scale and/or its modifications is still in use in some countries, such as the


The 1873 version of the Rossi–Forel scale had 10 intensity levels:

• I. Micro seismic tremor. Recorded by a single seismograph or by seismographs of the

same model, but not by several seismographs of different kinds. The shock felt by an experienced


• II. Extremely feeble tremor. Recorded by several seismographs of different kinds. Felt

by a small number of persons at rest.

• III. Feeble tremor. Felt by several persons at rest. Strong enough for the direction or

duration to be appreciable.

• IV. Slight tremor. Felt by persons in motion. Disturbance of movable objects, doors,

windows, cracking of ceilings.

• V. Moderate tremor. Felt generally by everyone. Disturbance of furniture, ringing of

some bells.
• VI. Strong tremor. General awakening of those asleep. General ringing of bells.

Oscillation of chandeliers, stopping of clocks, visible agitation of trees and shrubs. Some startled

persons leaving their dwellings.

• VII. Very strong tremor. Overthrow of movable objects, fall of plaster, ringing of church

bells. General panic. Moderate to heavy damage buildings.

• VIII. Damaging tremor. Fall of chimneys. Cracks in the walls of buildings.

• IX. Devastating tremor. Partial or total destruction of buildings.

• X. Extremely high intensity tremor. Great disaster, ruins, disturbance of the strata,

fissures in the ground, rock falls from mountains.

The Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale

The effect of an earthquake on the Earth's surface is called the intensity. The intensity scale

consists of a series of certain key responses such as people awakening, movement of furniture,

damage to chimneys, and finally - total destruction. It was developed in 1931 by the American

seismologists Harry Wood and Frank Neumann. This scale, composed of increasing levels of

intensity that range from imperceptible shaking to catastrophic destruction, is designated by

Roman numerals.

The Modified Mercalli scale is given as originally abridged by Wood and Neumann (1931)

the unabridged scale is reproduced in Stover and Coffman (1993). Since 1931 it has become clear

that many phenomena that Wood and Neumann (1931) originally used as criteria to define the

highest Modified Mercalli intensities (X and above) are related less to the level of ground shaking
than to the presence of ground conditions susceptible to spectacular failure or to the ease with

which seismic faulting of different style and depth can propagate to the ground surface. Criteria

based on such phenomena are down weighted now in assigning of USGS intensities (Stover and

Coffman, 1993).

Intensity Shaking Description/Damage

I Not felt Not felt except by a very few under especially favorable conditions.

Felt only by a few persons at rest,especially on upper floors of

II Weak

Felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially on upper floors

of buildings. Many people do not recognize it as an earthquake.

III Weak
Standing motor cars may rock slightly. Vibrations similar to the

passing of a truck. Duration estimated.

Felt indoors by many, outdoors by few during the day. At night,

IV Light
some awakened. Dishes, windows, doors disturbed; walls make
Intensity Shaking Description/Damage

cracking sound. Sensation like heavy truck striking building.

Standing motor cars rocked noticeably.

Felt by nearly everyone; many awakened. Some dishes, windows

V Moderate
broken. Unstable objects overturned. Pendulum clocks may stop.

Felt by all, many frightened. Some heavy furniture moved; a few

VI Strong
instances of fallen plaster. Damage slight.

Damage negligible in buildings of good design and construction;

Very slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable

strong damage in poorly built or badly designed structures; some

chimneys broken.

Damage slight in specially designed structures; considerable

damage in ordinary substantial buildings with partial collapse.

VIII Severe
Damage great in poorly built structures. Fall of chimneys, factory

stacks, columns, monuments, walls. Heavy furniture overturned.

Intensity Shaking Description/Damage

Damage considerable in specially designed structures; well-

designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. Damage great in

IX Violent
substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted off


Some well-built wooden structures destroyed; most masonry and

X Extreme
frame structures destroyed with foundations. Rails bent.

The Medvedev–Sponheuer–Karnik scale, also known as the MSK or MSK-64, is a macro

seismic intensity scale used to evaluate the severity of ground shaking on the basis of observed

effects in an area of the earthquake occurrence.

The scale was first proposed by Sergei Medvedev (USSR), Wilhelm Sponheuer (East

Germany), and Vít Kárník (Czechoslovakia) in 1964. It was based on the experiences being

available in the early 1960s from the application of the Modified Mercalli intensity scale and the

1953 version of the Medvedev scale, known also as the GEOFIAN scale.

With minor modifications in the mid-1970s and early 1980s, the MSK scale became widely

used in Europe and the USSR. In early 1990s, the European Seismological Commission (ESC)

used many of the principles formulated in the MSK in the development of the European Macro

seismic Scale, which is now a de facto standard for evaluation of seismic intensity in European

countries. MSK-64 is still being used in India, Israel, Russia, and throughout the Commonwealth

of Independent States. De facto: In law and government, de facto describes practices that exists in

reality, even if not officially recognized by the law. It is commonly used to refer to what happens

in practice, in contrast with “de jure”, which refers to things that happen according to the law.

Unofficial customs that are widely accepted are sometimes called de factor standards.

The Medvedev–Sponheuer–Karnik scale is somewhat similar to the Modified Mercalli

(MM) scale used in the United States. The MSK scale has 12 intensity degrees expressed in Roman

numerals (to prevent the use of decimals).

Not felt, registered only by seismographs. No effect on objects. No
I. Not Perceptible
damage to buildings.

Felt only by individuals at rest. No effect on objects. No damage

II. Hardly Perceptible
to buildings.

Felt indoors by a few. Hanging objects swing slightly. No damage

III. Weak
to buildings.

Felt indoors by many and felt outdoors only by very few. A few

people are awakened. Moderate vibration. Observers feel a slight

IV. Largely Observed trembling or swaying of the building, room, bed, chair etc. China,

glasses, windows and doors rattle. Hanging objects swing. Light

furniture shakes visibly in a few cases. No damage to buildings.

Felt indoors by most, outdoors by few. A few people are frightened

and run outdoors. Many sleeping people awake. Observers feel a

strong shaking or rocking of the whole building, room or furniture.

Hanging objects swing considerably. China and glasses clatter

V. Fairly strong
together. Doors and windows swing open or shut. In a few cases

window panes break. Liquids oscillate and may spill from fully

filled containers. Animals indoors may become uneasy. Slight

damage to a few poorly constructed buildings

Felt by most indoors and by many outdoors. A few persons lose

their balance. Many people are frightened and run outdoors. Small
VI. Strong
objects may fall and furniture may be shifted. Dishes and glassware

may break. Farm animals may be frightened. Visible damage to

masonry structures, cracks in plaster. Isolated cracks on the


Most people are frightened and try to run outdoors.

Furniture is shifted and may be overturned. Objects fall from

VII. Very Strong
shelves. Water splashes from containers. Serious damage to older

buildings, masonry chimneys collapse. Small landslides.

Many people find it difficult to stand, even outdoors. Furniture

may be overturned. Waves may be seen on very soft ground. Older

VIII. Damaging
structures partially collapse or sustain considerable damage. Large

cracks and fissures opening up, rockfalls.

General panic. People may be forcibly thrown to the ground.

Waves are seen on soft ground. Substandard structures collapse.

IX. Destructive
Substantial damage to well-constructed structures. Underground

pipelines ruptured. Ground fracturing, widespread landslides.

Masonry buildings destroyed, infrastructure crippled. Massive

X. Devastating landslides. Water bodies may be overtopped, causing flooding of

the surrounding areas and formation of new water bodies.

Most buildings and structures collapse. Widespread ground

XI. Catastrophic
disturbances, tsunamis.

All surface and underground structures completely destroyed.

XII. Very Catastrophic
Landscape generally changed, rivers change paths, tsunamis.

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