Shortcut Navigation:
Measuring an Earthquake's Intensity

Measuring an earthquake's intensity

Measuring an Earthquake's Intensity

  • About

    • The Earthquake Monitoring Station in the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth features a recorder showing real-time ground shaking at stations in Alaska, Arizona, and Japan. The stations are part of a network that monitors global seismic activity to provide warnings.

      A screen showing seismic activity uses red dots for that day's events, orange for the day before, yellow for the previous two weeks, and purple for the past five years. Yellow rings around each dot indicate the earthquake's magnitude. The screen shows both global and U.S. views.

      Show more
  • Exhibition Text

    • How do seismologists compare the relative intensity and effects of earthquakes? The most familiar way is through the Richter scale, which measures the amount of ground motion. The scale is calibrated logarithmically, meaning that a 5 is ten times greater than a 4. Measured in terms of actual energy release, each step on the Richter scale represents 33 times more energy.

  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Earthquakes

      Keywords: Earthquake magnitude, Earthquakes, Richter scale, Seismology, Seismometers

      Audience: General

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am-5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Maps and Directions

Enlighten Your Inbox

Stay informed about Museum news and research, events, and more!