Chapter A1

Measuring Earthquakes: Magnitude and Intensity

Once an earthquake occurs, it is important to know where the seismic event took place, how intense it was and its impact on the built environment, that is buildings, transportation structures, utilities and communication lines. Magnitude refers to the total energy released. Intensity refers to the extent of damage and loss of life. 

A1.1 magnitude

Earthquake magnitude is typically measured by the Richter Scale, which is based on the maximum ground amplitude at a location 100 km from the epicenter. The Richter Scale was developed by Charles F. Richter in 1935 to measure the magnitude of an earthquake. It is a logarithmic measurement of the amount of energy released by an earthquake. Earthquakes ...

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