How are Earthquakes Measured Today?

richter scale
Largest Earthquakes Before 21st Century

The earthquakes that occur happen with different energy and intensity. The size of energy amount released by an earthquake can be measured by the scientists with a device called seismograph. All of the motions of the earthquake in the ground are documented or recorded within seismogram. The zigzag type of seismogram that is produced in the seismograph in measuring facilities, is used to calculate the seismic waves energy in minutes of the earthquake deep under the ground.  The geologists are then capable of determining about earthquake time, location and the intensity of the quakes.

Surface waves are the shock waves that traverse trough the earth’s surface and body waves are those which traverse through the earth’s ground. Surface waves are more likely to produce much more destruction in the land because they can get to floor surface faster and shake the ground much more intense. Shallow focus tends to trigger larger quakes because the distance between the floor surface (epicenter) and the focus is not far.

earthquake size
Earthquake Measurement

There are more than 100 seismograph facilities all around the globe. After the earth tremble happen, seismologists are actually evaluating the data they have received and they are capable of determining the time and the energy released in earthquake. The USGS website is using the moment magnitude scales that is a magnitude scale for micro, medium and  a powerful earthquake in the recent decades.

What is Earthquake Intensity?

The earthquake scale name of Richter Scale earthquake was used for measuring how big the earthquake was by giving a numeric code for the level of intensity of earthquake in a range between 1 to 10 in Richter scale. The intensity was rising ten fold with every increase of 1 scale. However, it was not accurate when measuring large earthquake using with the Richter Scale. The moment magnitude scale (MMS) was then developed by seismologist essentially to measure the energy released by earthquake based on the moment of seismic wave. In this decade, in measuring earthquakes, we use moment magnitude scale for discovering dimensions of the earthquake such as the magnitude and the severity.

The earthquake magnitude is essentials to be known for immediate precautions in crowded regions in order to save the people. However, that is not easy to prevent dangers for saving people because there are generally less prepared people and less developed nations. Less strength building is also risky.

The size of the energy released by the earthquake is measured in the scale of Magnitude. There is single magnitude for each earthquake. The magnitude scale is progressively developed by the seismologists that can deliver the early warning system about the event of earthquakes and tsunami.

Thus this moment magnitude scale can be used in times to produce warning system before large quakes happen.

The most prone earth quakes occurring places are indeed required for warning system in place. There are applied earthquake warning systems in different countries that use different methods to gain earthquake’s moment magnitude.

How does the Richter Scale Work?

In the beginning of time, in measuring quakes, a study focusing on earthquake which is seismology is counducted. Seismology is a branch of science that is focused on earthquake. The experts monitored and measured quake with a device known as seismograph. Quake was measured based on the intensity (the amount of intensity of the shock wave as well as the electro magnet quantity produced) and its damage.

Earthquake Damage

The harm of the quake can be identified after its magnitude, in Richter Scale as generally used, is measured. The bigger the magnitude the more intense the effect is produced. When the moment of the earthquake is developed, the tension is released and it can be used to measure its effect on land and the people near the epicenter.

Richter Scale is developed by Charles F. Richter in 1935. This scale is used to measure the power released by the quake. The quake with scale of 2,0 Magnitude is small and will not be felt by many people. The scale of earthquake below 4 in Richter Scale is considered as small earthquake. However earthquake with the scale from 5.0 to 7.0 Magnitude can be moderate and can bring serious damage. Quake with more than 7.0 Richter Scale can be serious and extremely powerful and can trigger total destruction. The largest earthquake recorded was registered at 9.5 Magnitude which happened at Valdivia, Chile within 1960.


richter scale
Largest Earthquakes Before 21st Century

Everyone knows the power of the quake in Richter scale that is used to measure the size of the quake. Earthquake less than 4 Magnitude will not result in serious damage. However, earthquake in size of more than 5 Magnitude can have serious damage on the structures in the land surface. Next, the earthquake in size more than 7 will result in devastation. Moreover, the earthquake in history have brought on other hazards such as landslides, avalanches, flames, flood as well as tsunami.

The biggest risk in relation with earthquake is death. The earthquake can flatten the houses, buildings property, road or bridges that drop the people inside or under. The tsunami which is the hazard of the earthquake can destroy all within the land such as in Japan mainland in 2011. That tsunami in Japan 2011 was triggered after a powerful 9.0 Magnitude earthquake hit the shore of Japan.

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