Wave Amplitude, fault Size, amount of Slip

There room a variety of ways to measure the size of an earthquake. Most scales are based on the amplitude of seismic waves videotaped on seismometers. These scales account for the distance in between the earthquake and the record seismometer so that the calculation magnitude have to be around the exact same no issue where the is measured. Another scale is based on the physical dimension of the earthquake fault and the lot of slip the occurred. Then there are additionally measures of earthquake shiver intensity. The intensity native one earthquake varies significantly from location to place.

What’s the difference in between magnitude and intensity? This 8 minute video uses the analogy of a lightbulb to define the just how an earthquake deserve to have various intensities at various places.




You are watching: Which earthquake scale takes into consideration the damage caused by an earthquake

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Earthquake Intensity

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What Controls the Shaking friend Feel?


A few of this scales are explained in more detail below.




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Charles Richter studying a seismogram.

The Richter Scale

The very first widely-used method, the Richter scale, was arisen by Charles F. Richter in 1934. It provided a formula based upon the amplitude the the largest wave videotaped on a specific kind of seismometer and also the distance in between the earthquake and also the seismometer. That scale was certain to California earthquakes and also crust; various other scales, based upon wave amplitudes and also total earthquake duration, were emerged for use in other situations and also they to be designed come be continual with Richter’s scale.

The minute Magnitude Scale

Unfortunately, plenty of scales, such as the Richter scale, execute not administer accurate approximates for huge magnitude earthquakes. This particular day the moment magnitude scale, abbreviated MW, is preferred because it works over a wider range of earthquake sizes and is applicable globally. The minute magnitude range is based upon the complete moment release of the earthquake. Moment is a product the the street a error moved and also the force required to relocate it. That is acquired from modeling recordings that the earthquake in ~ multiple stations. Minute magnitude approximates are around the very same as Richter magnitudes for tiny to large earthquakes. Yet only the minute magnitude range is capable of measure up M8 (read "magnitude 8") and also greater events accurately.

Magnitudes are based upon a logarithmic range (base 10). What this means is that for each totality number you go up on the magnitude scale, the amplitude the the ground motion recorded by a seismograph goes up ten times. Utilizing this scale, a magnitude 5 earthquake would result in ten times the level of soil shaking together a magnitude 4 earthquake (and about 32 times as much power would be released). To offer you one idea just how these number can include up, think of that in regards to the energy released by explosives: a size 1 seismic wave releases together much energy as blowing up 6 ounces that TNT. A magnitude 8 earthquake releases together much energy as detonating 6 million tons of TNT. Nice impressive, huh? Fortunately, most of the earthquakes that occur yearly are much too tiny to it is in felt by most people.

Magnitude scales have the right to be offered to explain earthquakes so tiny that they space expressed in an adverse numbers. The scale likewise has no upper limit. The biggest recorded earthquake arisen along the subduction zone in Chile in 1960. It to be a magnitude 9.5 but larger earthquakes may be possible.

Fortunately, huge earthquakes are lot less typical than tiny ones. Here"s a table explicate the magnitudes the earthquakes, their effects, and also the estimated number of those earthquakes that take place each year.

The Mercalli Scale

Another method to measure up the toughness of an earthquake is to use the monitorings of the human being who experienced the earthquake, and also the quantity of damages that occurred, to estimate its intensity. The Mercalli scale to be designed to do simply that The original scale was designed by Giuseppe Mercalli in 1902 and was modification by take care of Wood and Frank Neumann in 1931 to become what is now known as the modification Mercalli soot Scale. To assist distinguish it from magnitude scales, the MMI scale uses roman numerals.

Although the Mercalli range does not usage scientific devices to measure up seismic waves, it has actually been really useful for expertise the damages caused by large earthquakes. That has additionally been used broadly to inspection earthquakes that developed before there were seismometers.

Some components that impact the amount of damages that wake up are:

the dimension (magnitude) that the earthquake the street from the epicenter, the depth of the earthquake, the building (or other structure) design, and also the kind of surface material (rock or dirt) the structures rest on.

Different structure designs host up in different way in one earthquake and the aside from that you room from the earthquake, the less damages you"ll generally see. Even if it is a structure is developed on solid absent or sand renders a huge difference in just how much damage it sustains. Solid rock commonly shakes much less than sand, so a building built on optimal of solid absent shouldn"t be as damaged together it might if it to be sitting ~ above a sandy lot.