What's shakin'? (and how would you classify that...)

How many of your have been in a grade 9 geography class and had to answer a questions about earthquakes? You've probably had to write something about what causes them, or at very least how we go about measuring them. I'll wager you've probably even used specific vocabulary to describe earthquake measurements...

So we know that there's a scale, like with anything else in life. We humans love to categorize and quantify things... every type of natural disaster has a scale on which we place the event to quantify it's magnitude. Twisters are rated on the Fujita scale, Hurricanes are ranked on the SaffiriSimpson scale from Category 1 to 5... so what would you imagine we use for classifying things that go bump in the dirt?

Almost anyone who's watched the news or read a paper would answer that questions with "The Richter Scale", wrongly. The strange thing is that the richter scale hasn't been used in seismology for the past 40 or so years... Truth is, seismologists use what's called the Moment Magnitude scale. For some reason the media has been rehashing a dead system for decades, but now you know better than hundreds of thousands of people world-wide!

Cheers to general ignorance, which seems incredibly prevalent in today's media...

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