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The Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) Scale assigns intensities as ...

1905 (approx.)

Detailed Description

Although numerous intensity scales have been developed over the last several hundred years to evaluate the effects of earthquakes, the one currently used in the United States is the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) Scale. It was developed in 1931 by the American seismologists Harry Wood and Frank Neumann. This scale, composed of increasing levels of intensity that range from imperceptible shaking to catastrophic destruction, is designated by Roman numerals. It does not have a mathematical basis; instead it is an arbitrary ranking based on observed effects. The Modified Mercalli Intensity value assigned to a specific site after an earthquake is a more meaningful measure of severity to many people than is magnitude, because intensity refers to the effects actually experienced at that place. The lower numbers of the intensity scale generally deal with the manner in which the earthquake is felt by people. The higher numbers of the scale are based on observed structural damage. Structural engineers usually contribute information for assigning intensity values of VIII or above.