A twelve-point scale for expressing the local intensity of an earthquake, ranging from I (virtually imperceptible) to XII (total destruction).
- The Mercalli scale measures the effect of an earthquake rather than its intensity.
- Intensities on the Mercalli scale are usually shown in Roman numerals, a convention worth preserving because it helps to distinguish intensity ratings from magnitude ratings.
- The Mercalli scale is based on observations at the site and therefore reflects the effects of soil conditions, distance from the epicenter, etc.
1920s: named after Giuseppe Mercalli (1850–1914), Italian geologist.
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Syllabification: Mer·cal·li scale
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