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"Seizing" Up the Quake: The Measurement



"Seizing" Up the Quake: The Measurement
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.14

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    pen-like, epicenter, amplitude, logarithm, seismologists, seismic, seismogram, arrival, magnitude, moderate, photographic, convert, interval, equivalent, multiplied, approximate
     content words:    John William Strutt, Lord Rayleigh, Seismograph Station


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"Seizing" Up the Quake: The Measurement
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     The earth shakes and shifts in many places. So, how do seismologists determine where seismic activity takes place? How do they know what magnitude the earthquake registers on the Richter scale? Let us examine the methods seismologists use for "seizing" up an earthquake.
 
2     When an earthquake begins, the compressional or P waves are the first to arrive. This is usually in the form of a sharp thud. Next, the shear waves or S waves join in the seismic party (moving at 5 kilometers per second). The last waves to arrive are the surface waves. There are two types of surface waves called Love waves and Rayleigh waves.
 
3     Love waves, also called L waves, were named after British mathematician A.E.H. Love. He designed a mathematical model for L waves in 1911. L waves move from side to side, and they are the fastest surface wave. They also cause destructive vibrations in buildings and break water and gas lines. The "ground rolling feeling" of an earthquake is produced by L waves. On seismographs, L waves also produce the largest vibrations.

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