There are two different scales that seismologists use to determine the severity of an earthquake and gain data about each level. They use the Richter Magnitude Scale to determine the magnitude of the earthquake so they can place it in an category of level. Its scale ranges from a level 1 to a level +9. They use the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale to determine the severity of the earthquake. Their scale ranges from a level I to a level XII. They also use eye witnesses to gain data about an earthquake.
An earthquake within these levels is too small to be categorized. A earthquake with a category of 2.5 or less is usually not felt, but can be recorded by seismograph, and delicately suspended objects may swing. An earthquake with the magnitude of 3 or lower are mostly almost imperceptible or weak. Felt by very few people and is barely noticeable. Earthquakes within these categories occur estimately 900,000 times a year. We don't know much because these earthquakes are so light that we do not notice them but our seismographs do.
Level 2.5 Earthquake- California
Occurred on Sunday, August, 17, 2014 at 6:37 a.m. with the epicenter that is located in Green Valley which is about seven miles east southeast of Napa. There have been no reports of damage or injuries.
An earthquake within these levels can range from a Minor to Light earthquake. An earthquake between a level 3.0 to 4.0 (category Minor) is noticeable indoors, especially on upper floors, but may not be recognized as an earthquake. An earthquake between a level 4-4.9 (category Light) is felt by many indoors, few outdoors. May feel like heavy truck passing by - Felt by almost everyone, some people awakened. Small objects moved. trees and poles may shake. This level of earthquake occurs estimately 30,000 times a year.
Level 4.6 Earthquake- Mississippi
Occurred December 17, 1931 with an intensity of VI beginning at the epicenter which is located in Charleston, Mississippi in Tallahatchie County. The earthquake resulted in several chimneys being thrown down in Charleston. The walls and foundation of the Agricultural High School were cracked and minor damage to chimneys also occurred at Tillatoba and Water Valley. Several buildings were damaged slightly and plaster fell at Belzoni. Also felt in Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
An earthquake within these levels can range from a Moderate to Strong earthquake. An earthquake between a level 5.5 to 6.0 (category Moderate) causes slight damage to buildings and other structures and it is felt by everyone. It makes it difficult to stand. Some heavy furniture moved, some plaster falls. Chimneys may be slightly damaged. An earthquake between a level 6-6.9 (category Strong) causes slight to moderate damage in well built, ordinary structures, considerable damage to poorly built structures, some walls may fall - Little damage in specially built structures. This level of earthquake occurs estimately 500 times a year.
Level 5.2 Earthquake-north Carolina
Occurred on February 2, 1916 with the intensity of VII. This earthquake resulted in the tops of chimneys being thrown to the ground, windowpanes being broken in many houses, and people rushing into the streets at Waynesville. At Sevierville, Tennessee about 70 kilometers northwest of Waynesville, bricks were shaken from chimneys. In Wear's Cove, about 16 kilometers southwest of Sevierville, the flow of water in springs increased and in places water became muddy. Minor damage was reported in eastern Tennessee at Athens, Knoxville, Maryville, Morristown, and Newport, Tennessee; at Tryon, North Carolina; and at Bristol, Virginia. Also reported felt in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
Level 8 Earthquake- Puerto Rico
An earthquake within these levels can range from a Major to Great earthquake. An earthquake of magnitude 7 and over potentially cause serious damage over larger areas, depending on their depth. An earthquake between a level 7.0 to 7.9 (category Major) causes considerable damage to specially built structures, buildings shifted off foundations. It will cause the ground to crack noticeably. Wholesale destruction. Landslides. An earthquake between a level 8.0 or greater (category Great ) can totally destroy communities near the epicenter. Few, if any, structures standing, bridges destroyed, wide cracks in ground, waves seen on ground.- Total damage, waves seen on ground, objects thrown up into air. An earthquake with a level between 7-7.9 occur estimately 20 times every year. An earthquake with a level of 8 and greater occur once every five to ten years.
Occurred May 2, 1787 beginning at the epicenter which is located that is inferred to be in the Puerto Rico Trench. The earthquake was felt very strongly all across the Puerto Rican Island. It resulted in the demolishment the Arecibo church along with the El Rosario and La Concepcion monasteries and damaged the churches at Bayamon, Toa Baja and Mayaguez. It also caused considerable damage to the castles of San Felipe del Morro and San Cristobal, breaking cisterns, walls and guard houses.
An earthquake within these levels is a category Great earthquake. The largest earthquakes in historic times have been of magnitude slightly over 9, although there is no limit to the possible magnitude. An earthquake in these levels can totally destroy communities near the epicenter. Cause total damage, waves seen on ground, objects thrown up into air. An earthquake with a level 9 and greater occur once every five to ten years.
Level 9.5 Earthquake- Chile
Occurred on May 22, 1960 with the magnitude of a 9.5 beginning at the epicenter which is located in Valdivia, Chile. The earthquake resulted in estimately 1,655 people were killed, 3,000 people injured, 2,000,000 people went homeless, and $550 million damage in southern Chile. The tsunami caused 61 deaths, $75 million damage in Hawaii. 138 deaths and $50 million damage in Japan. 32 people dead and missing in the Philippines. $500,000 damage to the west coast of the United States.