After some discussion with my scientific friends regarding scales it was pointed out to me that the Richter scale has been used to determine the energy that is released during an earthquake for many years and is extremely useful. I suggested that this scale, being logarithmic, is not much use to the layman as the energy difference between the integers is so large it does not provide any clarity to the actual feeling of the event. I then suggested that it would be a better idea to have new scale, a linear scale. After much laughter, my colleagues suggested I should attempt ‘The Deskarati Earthquake Scale’.
Well after researching the scales of earthquakes I find a number of interesting points.
1) This has already been done. The Mercalli intensity scale is a seismic scale used for measuring the intensity of an earthquake. It originated with the widely used simple ten-degree Rossi-Forel scale which was revised by Italian volcanologist, Giuseppe Mercalli in 1884 and 1906. It was later improved by Charles Richter, the father of the Richter magnitude scale and is known today as the Modified Mercalli scale (MM) or Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (MMI).
2) The Richter scale is no longer used. Since the mid-20th century, the use of the Richter magnitude scale has been replaced by the moment magnitude scale (MMS) in most countries around the world, but we wont get into that here.
3) Although the Richter scale is logarithmic, the increase of energy released has very little effect on the intensity felt. The difference between a Scale 5 and a scale 6 earthquake might have ten times more energy but the observation on the ground can be negligible.
So, after looking carefully at the three different scales I have decided that we need a new one. This will be called the Deskarati Earthquake Intensity Scale (DEIS). This new scale puts us back in the realms of reality and uses a scale of ten – much more European!