MODIFIED MERCALLI SCALE (Wood and Neumann, 1931)

I Not felt -- or, except rarely under especially favorable circumstances.

Under certain conditions, at and outside the boundary of the area in which a great shock is felt:

Sometimes birds, animals, reported uneasy or disturbed;

Sometimes dizziness or nausea experienced;

Sometimes trees, structures, liquids, bodies of water, may sway -- doors may swing very slowly.


II Felt indoors by few -- especially upper floors, or by sensitive, or nervous persons.

Also, as in grade I, but often more noticeably:

Sometimes hanging objects may swing, especially when delicately suspended;

Sometimes trees, structures, liquids, bodies of water, may sway, doors may swing very slowly.
Sometimes birds, animals reported uneasy or disturbed;

Sometimes dissiness or neausea experienced.


III Felt indoors by several -- motion usually rapid vibration.

Sometimes not recognized to be an earthquake at first.

Duration estimated in some cases. Vibration like that due to passing of light, or lightly loaded trucks, or heavy trucks some distance away.

Hanging objects may swing slightly.

Movements may be appreciable on upper levels of tall structures.

Rocked standing motor cars slightly.


IV Felt indoors by many, outdoors by few.

Awakened few, especially light sleepers.

Frightened no one, unless apprehensive from previous experience.

Vibration like that due to passing of heavy, or heavily loaded trucks.

Sensation like heavy body striking building, or falling of heavy objects inside.

Rattling of dishes, windows, doors; glassware and crockery clink and clash.

Creaking of walls, frame, especially in the upper range of this grade.

Hanging objects swung, in numerous instances.

Disturbed liquids in open vessels slightly.

Rocked standing motor cars noticeably.


V Felt indoors by practically all, outdoors by many or most: outdoors direction estimated.

Awakened many, or most.

Frightened few [many] -- slight excitement, a few [or some] ran outdoors.

Buildings trembled throughout.

Broke dishes, glassware, to some extent.

Cracked windows - - in some cases, but not generally.

Overturned vases, small or unstable objects, in many instances, with occasional fall.

Hanging objects, doors, swing generally or considerably.

Knocked pictures against walls, or swung them out of place. Opened, or closed doors, shutters abruptly.

Pendulum clocks stopped, started, or ran fast or slow.

Moved small objects, furnishings, the latter to slight extent.

Spilled liquids in small amounts from well-filled open containers.

Trees, bushes shaken slightly.

[Minor cracking of plaster.]

[Felt by most at an hour when most would be asleep.]

Rang very small bells, i.e. door bells.]


VI Felt by all, indoors and outdoors.

Frightened many [most or all], excitement general, some alarm, many [or all] ran outdoors.

Awakened all.

Persons made to move unsteadily.

Trees, bushes shaken slight to moderately.

Liquid set in strong motion.

Small bells range -- church, chapel, school, etc.

Damage slight in poorly built buildings.

Fall of plaster in small amount.

Crack plaster somewhat, especially fine cracks, chimneys in some instances.

Broke dishes, glassware, in considerable quantity, also some windows.

Fall of knock-knacks, books, pictures.

Overturned furniture in many instances.

Moved furnishings of moderately heavy kind.

[Some brick walls cracked slightly.]

[A few loose bricks knocked from walls.]

[Many plaster walls cracked.]


VII Frightened all -- general alarm, all ran outdoors.

Some, or many, found it difficult to stand.

Noticed by persons driving motor cars [or horse drawn carriages.]

Trees and bushes shaken moderately to strongly.

Waves on ponds, lakes, and running water.

Water turbid from mud stirred up.

Incaving to some extent of sand or gravel stream banks.

Rang large church bells, etc.

Suspended objects made to quiver.

Damage negligible in buildings of good design and construction, slight to moderate in well-built ordinary buildings, considerable in poorly built or badly designed buildings, adobe houses, old walls (especially where laid up without mortar), spires, etc.

Crack chimneys to considerable extent, walls to some extent.

Fall of plaster in considerable to large amount, also some stucco.

Broke numerous windows, furniture to some extent.

Shook down loosened brickwork and tiles.

Broke weak chimneys at the roof-line (sometimes damaging roofs).

Fall of cornices from towers and high buildings.

Dislodged bricks and stones.

Overturned heavy furniture, with damage from breaking.

Damage considerable to concrete irrigation ditches.

[Fall of a few fire walls.]


VIII Fright general -- approaches panic.

Disturbed persons driving motor cars.

Trees shaken strongly -- branches, trunks broken off, especially palm trees.

Ejected sand and mud in small amounts.

Changes: temporary, permanent; in flow of springs and wells; dry wells renewed flow; in temperature of spring and well waters.

Damage slight in structures (brick) built especially to withstand earthquakes.

Considerable in ordinary substantial buildings, partial collapse, racked, tumbled down, wooden houses in some cases [those on stilts]; threw out panel walls in frame structures, broke off decayed piling.

Fall of walls.

Cracked, broke solid stone walls seriously.

Twisting, fall or [most or all] chimneys, columns, monuments, also factory stacks, towers.

Moved conspicuously, overturned very heavy furniture.

[Moved frame structures on their foundations.]

[Weak adobe buildings may collapse.]


IX Panic general.

Cracked ground conspicuously.

Damage considerable in (masonry) structures built especially to withstand earthquakes:

Threw out of plumb some wood-frame houses build especially to withstand earthquakes;

Great in substantial (masonry) buildings, some collapse in large part [partial collapse of a number of buildings or a few buildings largely collapsed or both]; or wholly shifted frame buildings off foundations; racked frames; serious to reservoirs; underground pipes sometimes broken.


X Cracked ground, especially when loose and wet, up to widths of several inches: fissures up to a yard in width ran parallel to canal and stream banks.

Landslides considerable from river banks and steep coasts.

Shifted sand and mud horizontally on beaches and flat land.

Changed level of water in wells.

Threw water on banks of canals, lakes, rivers, etc.

Damage serious to dams, dikes, embankments.

Severe to well-built wooden structures and bridges, some destroyed.

Developed dangerous cracks in excellent brick walls.

Destroyed most masonry and frame structures, also their foundations.

Bent railroad rails slightly.

Tore apart, or crushed endwise, pipe lines buried in earth.

Open cracks and broad wavy folds in cement pavements and asphalt road surfaces.


XI Disturbances in ground many and widespread, varying with ground material.

Broad fissures, earth slumps, and land slips in soft, wet ground.

Ejected water in large amount charged with sand and mud.

Caused sea-waves of significant magnitude.

Damage severe to wood frame structures, especially near shock centers.

Great to dams, dikes, embankments, often for long distances.

Few if any (masonry) structures remained standing.

Destroyed large well-built bridges by the wrecking of support piers, or pillars.

Affected yielding wooden bridges less.

Bent railroad rails greatly, and thrust them endwise.

Put pipe lines buried in earth completely out of service.


XII Damage total -- practically all works of construction damaged greatly or destroyed.

Disturbances in ground great and varied, numerous shearing cracks.

Landslides, falls of rocks of significant character, slumping of river banks, etc., numerous and extensive.

Wrenched loose, tore off, large rock masses.

Faults slips in firm rock, with notable horizontal and vertical offset displacements.

Water channels, surface and underground, disturbed and modified greatly.

Dammed lakes, produced waterfalls, deflected rivers, etc.

Waves seen on ground surfaces (actually seen, probably, in some cases).

Distorted lines of sight and level.

Threw objects upward into the air.


From: Toppozada, T. R., C. R. real, and D. L. Parke, 1981. Preparation of isoseismal maps and summaries of reported effects for pre-1900 California earthquakes. California Division of Mines and Geology Open-File Report 81-11, pp. 12-15.