Earthquake 101 Lesson 4 1
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Newspapers for this educational program provided by Lesson 4: What Size Was That Earthquake? Scientists use magnitude to talk about the size of an earthquake. Magnitude is a relative scale that describes the intensity of an earthquake. Scientists do not get a specific magnitude number directly from their seismic instrument; instead, they take the information recorded from the seismic waves and use mathematical formulas to estimate the magnitude. Since scientists can measure different seismic waves or parts of waves and make different correlations to their relationships, there are many different magnitude scales used. The most famous of these, the Richter scale, is commonly misused with the public. Today’s scientists do not use the Richter magnitude, but the basic concept is broadly used for several magnitude scales. These scales estimate magnitude by measuring the strength of the seismic signal recorded at a seismic station and adjusting it for distance from the earthquake Magnitude measurements for a single earthquake rarely agree, so how do we know which one is correct? They all are; they are just using different information to estimate the magnitude. An earthquake reported with different magnitudes is common and should not be considered terribly significant. Magnitude’s Math: The magnitude scale is logarithmic, so for every increase of one magnitude unit, there is a ten-times increase in the amplitude of the seismic wave. This means that the shaking associated with a magnitude 7 is 10×10×10×10, or 10,000 times greater than a magnitude 3 earthquake. For each magnitude unit increase, there is about 32 times more energy released. Think about throwing a rock into a still pond. As the waves travel away from where the rock hit the water, they get smaller and smaller; the same applies to earthquakes. The farther away from the epicenter of the earthquake you are, the less you will feel it. For this reason, we could not feel the effects of Japan’s recent earthquake. Further study: How much more energy is released in a magnitude 9 earthquake than the largest earthquake to occur in Oklahoma, estimated at a magnitude 5.5? *Answer: 32x32x32x√32=185363
|Okla State Agency||
Geological Survey, Oklahoma
|Title||Earthquake 2011, Lesson 4|
|Alternative title||Earthquake 101|
Newspapers in Education The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma City Geological Foundation.
Oklahoma Geological Survey.
|Purpose||Lesson 4 What Size Was That Earthquake? Scientists use magnitude to talk about the size of an earthquake. Magnitude is a relative scale that describes the intensity of an earthquake.|
|Notes||1 of 4 parts|
|OkDocs Class#||G500.8 E12o 2011 Lesson 4|
|For all parts click||G500.8 E12o 2011|
|Digital Format||PDF, Adobe Reader required|
|ODL electronic copy||Downloaded from agency website: http://s3.amazonaws.com/content.newsok.com/newsok/images/NIE/nie_docs/Survey,%20Lesson%204,%20Final.pdf|
|Rights and Permissions||This Oklahoma government publication is provided for educational purposes under U.S. copyright law. Other usage requires permission of copyright holders.|