The difference between ‘magnitude’ and ‘intensity’ when it comes to an earthquake


BERKELEY (KRON) – With the recent earthquakes in California last week, now may be a good time to not only spruce up your emergency preparedness kit, but to also brush up on earthquake terminology!

Thousands of aftershocks have rattled Southern California since the 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck on July 4.

These aftershocks hit greater than 2.0 magnitude within about 30 miles from the epicenter of the first quake.

Now if you’re thinking “magnitude” and “intensity” are the same when describing earthquakes and can be used interchangeably, that isn’t the case.

Dr. Angela Chung, a project scientist for Earthquake Early Warning at the Berkeley Seismology Lab, said that the two terms actually have very different meanings, and it’s important to understand the difference between these two especially when discussing the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning.

Even better, Dr. Chung uses dinosaurs to explain!

You can watch the explanation video below:

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