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RE: California Earthquake Problems

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On Sun, 17 Jan 1999 Yank2002(--nospam--at) wrote:
> I have never seen an official definition of "Richter scale magnitude".
> Seismology books usually give you a "description" of a definition but the
> definition itself somehow avoided me for decades. Would you be so kind as to
> EMail me the definition so I finally learn what Mr. Richter said about it. 

Richter magnitude is the maximum amplitude of displacement (in
micro meter) that is recorded on a particular type of seismometer
(Wood-Anderson) located at 100 km away from epicentre.  Generally,
damage is related to maximum acceleration and its frequency content.
Ground displacement is, by itself, of very little importance to 
structural engineers.  Richter was also congisant of the limitations
of his proposed scale and was very clear that this arbitrary scale
was mainly for the purposes of informing the Media (quickly, and before
damage information was available) on the relative severity of different

Hope this helps.

ravi sinha

Ravi Sinha, Ph.D.		email: rsinha(--nospam--at)
Associate Professor		       rsinha(--nospam--at)
Department of Civil Engineering	       Phone: (91-22)-576-7336, 576-7301
IIT, Powai, Bombay - 400 076, India    Fax: (91-22)-578-3480, 578-3557