How accurate and reliable are reported perceptions of quakes?
Scientists rely on the public's reporting of ground shaking to characterize the intensity of ground motion produced by an earthquake. How accurate and reliable are those perceptions?
A new study by Italian researchers suggests that a person's activity at the time of the quake influences their perception of shaking more than their location. Whether a person is at rest or walking plays a greater role in their perception of ground motion than whether they were asleep on the first or sixth floor of a building. People in motion had the worst perception.
"People are like instruments, more or less sensitive," said Paola Sbarra, co-author and researcher at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia in Rome, Italy. "A great amount of data and proper statistical analysis allowed us to make a fine-tuning of different conditions for a better interpretation of earthquake effects," said Sbarra.
The paper, co-authored by colleagues Patrizia Tosi and Valerio de Rubeis, is published today in the March issue of the Seismological Research Letters (SRL).
Sbarra and colleagues sought to analyze two variables – how an observer's "situation" and "location" influenced their perception in order to improve the characterization of low macroseismic intensities felt near small earthquakes or far from larger ones. Contrary to their findings, the current European macroseismic scale, which is the basis for evaluating how strongly an earthquake is felt, considers location the stronger indicator for defining intensity.
The authors analyzed data submitted to "Hai-sentito-il-terremoto?," which is similar to the U.S. Geological Survey's "Did You Feel It?" website that analyzes information about earthquakes from people who have felt them. After an earthquake, individuals answer questions about what they felt during the quake, along with other questions regarding their location and activity.
Intensity measures the strength of shaking produced by the earthquake at a certain location. Intensity is determined from effects on people, human structures, and the natural environment.
The number of people who feel an earthquake is critical to determining intensity levels, and low intensity earthquakes generate fewer reports, making objective evaluation of shaking difficult.
The journal SRL is published by the Seismological Society of America, which is the leading research society devoted to the study of earthquakes.
Nan Broadbent | EurekAlert!
In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2017 | Life Sciences
21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine