(RNN) - The U.S. Geological Survey uses a seismic scale to measure earthquakes. According to the USGS, the Richter scale is the magnitude of earthquakes that measures at the "energy released" at the source. Here is a guide of what damage can occur at different magnitudes.
1.0 to 3.0: is usually not felt by humans, but registers on a seismograph.
3.0 to 3.9: May feel like a big semi-truck is passing by, and can be felt be people indoors, especially those on upper floors of buildings.
4.0 to 4.9: A temblor at this magnitude can wake people up from sleep, and will knock around dishes and pictures on the wall, walls may even make a cracking noise, open cabinets and so on. Feels like the semi-truck hit the building instead of passing by.
5.0 to 5.9: Just about everyone feels an earthquake at this magnitude. Dishes and windows can be broken, objects will be knocked over, books off shelves for example. Badly-designed buildings will have damage, and the temblor could damage or knock down some chimneys. Well-designed buildings will have minimal damage.
6.0 to 6.9: At this range, the structural damage can range from slight to considerable even in well-designed structures. Buildings can be moved off their foundations, and some buildings could collapse. Furniture can be overturned. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco that hit the World Series was a 6.9. Bridges and overpasses collapsed, roads buckled during that quake.
7.0 and higher: Lots of damage. Chimneys and buildings of all design strength damaged - as the magnitude increases, bridges could fall, frame structures knocked off their foundations, rails can bend.
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