Magnitude is a measure of earthquake size and remains unchanged with distance from the earthquake. Intensity, however, describes the degree of shaking caused by an earthquake at a given place and decreases with distance from the earthquake epicentre.
How Does Earthquake Magnitude Differ from Intensity?
Earthquake magnitude and intensity are two measures that are used to describe the strength of an earthquake. Magnitude is a measure of the amount of energy released by the earthquake, while intensity is a measure of the shaking that is caused by the earthquake.
The Richter magnitude scale is the most common scale used to measure earthquake magnitude. Magnitude is measured on a logarithmic scale, which means that each increase of one unit on the scale represents a ten–fold increase in the amount of energy released by the earthquake.
For example, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.0 releases ten times as much energy as an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.0.
The Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale is the most common scale used to measure earthquake intensity. Intensity is measured on a numerical scale, with higher numbers indicating more severe shaking.
For example, an earthquake with an intensity of VIII (eight) on the Modified Mercalli Scale would cause more damage than an earthquake with an intensity of VII (seven).
Earthquake magnitude is a more accurate measure of an earthquake‘s strength than intensity.
This is because magnitude is a direct measure of the amount of energy released by the earthquake, while intensity is a measure of the shaking that is