Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Hungry for News
The Richter Scale is a complicated equation from the 1930s which creates a logarithm from the amplitude of the lines on a seismometer along with other information. It is designed to show the amount of energy released in the quake. Because the scale is logarithmic, each whole number increase represents a ten fold increase in amplitude and 32 times the energy in the quake, but even that doesn't capture the increase up the scale. Think of a graph accelerating the rate of change and going, in the end, straight up. A 5.8 earthquake can be felt of course but an 8.8 involves not just 96 times more energy but several orders of magnitude more energy. There is no theoretical upper limit to the scale, but a 12 would nearly have to involve collision with a large asteroid. There has never been recorded a 10 yet.
The story was worth about 30 minutes in my book, so it got all day as if this unnamed, middling earthquake were the ground shaking equivalent of Katrina. Give me a break.
Labels: Earthquakes; Richter Scale