Mercalli intensity scale

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The Mercalli intensity scale is a scale used for measuring the intensity of an earthquake. The scale quantifies the effects of an earthquake on the Earth's surface, humans, objects of nature, and man-made structures on a scale of I through XII, with I denoting not felt, and XII total destruction.[1][2] The values will differ based on the distance to the earthquake, with the highest intensities being around the epicentral area. Data is gathered from individuals who have experienced the quake, and an intensity value will be given to their location.



The Mercalli (Intensity) scale originated with the widely used simple ten-degree Rossi-Forel scale, which was revised by Italian vulcanologist Giuseppe Mercalli in 1884 and 1906.

In 1902 the ten-degree Mercalli scale was expanded to twelve degrees by Italian physicist Adolfo Cancani. It was later completely re-written by the German geophysicist August Heinrich Sieberg and became known as the Mercalli-Cancani-Sieberg (MCS) scale. The Mercalli-Cancani-Sieberg scale was later modified and published in English by Harry O. Wood and Frank Neumann in 1931 as the Mercalli-Wood-Neumann (MWN) scale. It was later improved by Charles Richter, the father of the Richter magnitude scale. The scale is known today as the Modified Mercalli scale or Modified Mercalli Intensity scale, and abbreviated MM or MMI.

Modified Mercalli Intensity scale

The lower degrees of the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale generally deal with the manner in which the earthquake is felt by people. The higher numbers of the scale are based on observed structural damage. The table on the right is a rough guide to the degrees of the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale.[1][2] The colors and descriptive names shown here differ from those used on certain shake maps in other articles. The table on the left gives Modified Mercalli scale intensities that are typically observed at locations near the epicenter of the earthquake.[1]

Correlation with physical quantities

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