The Borderland felt the effects of a 5.0 magnitude earthquake, but what qualifies it to be ranked so high?

El Paso News

El Paso, TX (KTSM)— Thursday morning many El Pasoans reported feeling the tremors, which were caused by a 5.0 magnitude earthquake just three hours east of the Borderland. Since then have you wondered how geologists scale an earthquake?

As KTSM previously reported, an earthquake hit Mentone, TX first ranking at a 4.7, which was later upgraded to 5.0. This can be ranked in one of two ways.

The Richer Scale:

  • Was created in 1935 by Charles Richer of the California Institute of technology.
  • Richer based his scale on the idea that the bigger the earthquake, the greater the shaking of earth and thus the greater the swing of lines made on a seismogram. This means the Richer Scale measures an earthquake through its energy.

Moment Magnitude Scale:

  • It is used for large earthquakes.
  • It is initially more accurate because it is tied directly to physical parameters, like fault rupture areas, fault slip, and energy release. This means it measures the amount of strain energy that is released by the movement along the whole rupture area of the earthquake.

Magnitude of earthquakes and its meanings:

  • 0-2 Very minor.
  • 3-3.9 Minor.
  • 4-4.9 Light.
  • 5-5.9 Moderate (damaging).
  • 6-6.9 Strong (destructive).
  • 7-7.4 Major.
  • 7.5-8.4 Great.
  • 8.5 and up Serious.

According to Patrick L. Abbott with San Diego State University, the earth experiences more than 3,400,000 earthquakes per year, meaning the earthquake which shook the Borderland Thursday morning is simply part of this years tectonic rhythm.

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