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Re: California Earthquake Problems

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Dear Yank

The average person, as you say, has no idea what to expect from a "x.x"
All they have is a perception of the earthquake and its results derived from
TV coverage highlighting as many high profile sensational images as
possible.  Disaster sells.

The very basis of what you propose is erroneous.  The effect on your house
from a specific magnitude earthquake will depend on a multitude of
variables; distance, direction, geology....  The end result being that the
Richter magnitude is relatively meaningless in any credible discussion of a
specific site (i.e. your house).  What is measurable is the ground
acceleration experienced at a specific location and the resulting damage to
the structure.

The solution to this dilemma would be to educate the media to stop pushing
key words like Richter scale, and start reporting recorded ground
accelerations.  Then, we can hold a credible discussion based on physics and

Paul Feather