Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Harsh K. Gupta

Earthquakes, Intensity

  • Gottfried GrünthalEmail author
  • Roger M. W. Musson
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-10475-7_23-1
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Synonyms

Definition

The intensity, or macroseismic intensity, represents a classification of the severity of ground-motion shaking during an earthquake on the basis of observed effects at a given place (Grünthal et al. 1998). The word “macroseismic” refers to perceptible effects of earthquakes as opposed to instrumental observations.

Macroseismic Scales and Intensity Assignment

Earthquake intensities are defined in macroseismic scales. Since the early twentieth century, they usually contain 12 intensity degrees with the prominent exception of the seven degree Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) scale (later upgraded to ten degrees). Earthquakes generate different intensities at different places, generally decreasing with distance from the epicenter. The epicentral intensity can be used in combination with the hypocentral depth as a classification of earthquake strength – with restrictions for large earthquakes (M ≥ 7) with extensive fault planes.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helmholtz Centre PotsdamGerman Research Centre for Geosciences GFZPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.University of Edinburgh and British Geological SurveyEdinburghUK