Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stealing Richter's Scale

The massive earthquake in Chile brought to light the fact that "they" have replaced the Richter scale.

"The Richter magnitude scale, also known as the local magnitude (ML) scale, assigns a single number to quantify the amount of seismic energy released by an earthquake. It is a base-10 logarithmic scale obtained by calculating the logarithm of the combined horizontal amplitude of the largest displacement from zero on a Wood–Anderson torsion seismometer output. So, for example, an earthquake that measures 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times larger than one that measures 4.0. The effective limit of measurement for local magnitude ML is about 6.8.
Though still widely used, the Richter scale has been superseded by the moment magnitude scale, which gives generally similar values."

Charles Richter
"Developed in 1935 by Charles Richter in partnership with Beno Gutenberg, both of the California Institute of Technology, the scale was firstly intended to be used only in a particular study area in California, and on seismograms recorded on a particular instrument, the Wood-Anderson torsion seismometer. Richter originally reported values to the nearest quarter of a unit, but decimal numbers were used later. His motivation for creating the local magnitude scale was to separate the vastly larger number of smaller earthquakes from the few larger earthquakes observed in California at the time.
His inspiration was the apparent magnitude scale used in astronomy to describe the brightness of stars and other celestial objects. Richter arbitrarily chose a magnitude 0 event to be an earthquake that would show a maximum combined horizontal displacement of 1 ┬Ám (0.00001in) on a seismograph recorded using a Wood-Anderson torsion seismometer 100 km (62 mi) from the earthquake epicenter. "

So in this era of naming everything after a Corporation I'm surprised "they" didn't sell the naming rights and name the new scale the "FOX News Magnitude Scale" or the "Weather Channel Measure of Magnitude". Why take away Richter's name away from the measurement? First it is only a refinement, not a completely new system. Secondly who the hell are "they"? The U.S.G.S. uses the new one but are they the"they"? Why not call it the Richter II Scale or the New Richter Scale or the Richter/"they" Scale?
Jeez guys, give the man back his credit!
If 1=1, then 2=10, 3=100, 4=1,000, 5= 10,000, 6=100,000
7=1,000,000, 8=10,000,000, 9=100,000,000, and 10= 1,000,000,000
So if one equals one joule then ten equals one billion joules of energy.
Technically 10 is not the highest force that could happen.


pecheur said...

I did not know this.

Sorry I have been absent. Moved with job and have not had internet. Hope to be up and running soon and catching up

BB-Idaho said...

Never felt the St. Helens 5.1 quake, although we swept up ash for a couple weeks. Then...
We were a couple hundred miles from the 6.9 Richter Borah Peak
(1983) quake. I was up early and sitting in a folding chair in our unfinished basement watching the TV. Coffee began sloshing out each side of my cup and I almost fell off my chair. Thought it was early onset Alzheimers until the news came an hour later. Kids woke up terrified; wife slept through the whole thing. Not sure how many Joules, but my jowls were dripping coffee.....that logarithmic scale is demonstrated by the estimated
8R of the New Madrid quake, which had the Missippi running backwards in places. Gimme ground, solid ground!

drlobojo said...

Greetings brother Pecheur.
BB, I washed Mt. Helen off of my car in OKC.

New Madrid was an example of earthquake location mattering more than size like the Haiti quake was as well. New Madrid liquefacted the natural levees along the Mississippi River and caused liquefaction subsidence of the area that became Reelfoot lake thus the flow of the river was reversed below Reelfoot in order to fill the new basin with water.

Solid ground, no such thing.

drlobojo said...

Unbelievable, the 8.8 earthquake in the Chilean subduction zone shifted the axis of the earth 3 inches. Say what, and slowed the day down a couple of milliseconds.
Wierd that one event can can actually make any difference.