European macroseismic scale
The European macroseismic scale (EMS) is the basis for evaluation of seismic intensity in European countries and is also used in a number of countries outside Europe. Issued in 1998 as an update of the test version from 1992, the scale is referred to as EMS-98.
The history of the EMS began in 1988 when the European Seismological Commission (ESC) decided to review and update the Medvedev–Sponheuer–Karnik scale (MSK-64), which was used in its basic form in Europe for almost a quarter of a century. After more than five years of intensive research and development and a four-year testing period, the new scale was officially released. In 1996 the XXV General Assembly of the ESC in Reykjavík passed a resolution recommending the adoption of the new scale by the member countries of the European Seismological Commission.
The European macroseismic scale EMS-98 is the first seismic intensity scale designed to encourage co-operation between engineers and seismologists, rather than being for use by seismologists alone. It comes with a detailed manual, which includes guidelines, illustrations, and application examples.
Unlike the earthquake magnitude scales, which express the seismic energy released by an earthquake, EMS-98 intensity denotes how strongly an earthquake affects a specific place. The European macroseismic scale has 12 divisions, as follows:
|I. Not felt||Not felt by anyone.|
|II. Scarcely felt||Vibration is felt only by individual people at rest in houses, especially on upper floors of buildings.|
|III. Weak||The vibration is weak and is felt indoors by a few people. People at rest feel swaying or light trembling. Noticeable shaking of many objects.|
|IV. Largely observed||The earthquake is felt indoors by many people, outdoors by few. A few people are awakened. The level of vibration is possibly frightening. Windows, doors and dishes rattle. Hanging objects swing. No damage to buildings.|
|V. Strong||The earthquake is felt indoors by most, outdoors by many. Many sleeping people awake. A few run outdoors. Entire sections of all buildings tremble. Most objects swing considerably. China and glasses clatter together. The vibration is strong. Top-heavy objects topple over. Doors and windows swing open or shut.|
|VI. Slightly damaging||Felt by everyone indoors and by many to most outdoors. Many people in buildings are frightened and run outdoors. Objects on walls fall. Slight damage to buildings; for example, fine cracks in plaster and small pieces of plaster fall.|
|VII. Damaging||Most people are frightened and run outdoors. Furniture is shifted and many objects fall from shelves. Many buildings suffer slight to moderate damage. Cracks in walls; partial collapse of chimneys.|
|VIII. Heavily damaging||Furniture may be overturned. Many to most buildings suffer damage: chimneys fall; large cracks appear in walls and a few buildings may partially collapse. Can be noticed by people driving cars.|
|IX. Destructive||Monuments and columns fall or are twisted. Many ordinary buildings partially collapse and a few collapse completely. Windows shatter.|
|X. Very destructive||Many buildings collapse. Cracks and landslides can be seen.|
|XI. Devastating||Most buildings collapse.|
|XII. Completely devastating||Almost all structures are destroyed. The ground changes.|
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