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  • This is a question from Alex, who asks: What if a Richter magnitude 15 earthquake were to hit America at, let's say, New York City?

    這是 Alex 提出的問題,他問道:如果一場芮氏規模 15 地震襲擊美國,比方說紐約市,該怎麼辦?

  • What about a Richter 0? Or 25?

    那麼芮氏規模 0 級呢? 還是 25 級地震?

  • Well, given that a magnitude 25 quake would destroy the sun if one happened there, it would certainly destroy New York City.

    好吧,考慮到如果那裡發生 25 級地震,太陽就會被摧毀,紐約市肯定也會被摧毀。

  • But we're getting ahead of ourselves.


  • The Richter scale, which has technically been replaced by the "moment magnitude" scale, measures the strength of an earthquake.


  • Since we usually hear about earthquakes with ratings somewhere between 3 and 9, a lot of people probably think of 10 as the top of the scale and 0 as the bottom.

    由於我們通常聽到的地震等級在 3 到 9 之間,因此許多人可能認為 10 級為最高等級,0 級為最低級。

  • In fact, there is no top or bottom to the scale!


  • But even if 10 isn't the top of the scale, it might as well be.

    但即使 10 級不是最高級,也可能是。

  • A magnitude 9 earthquake already measurably alters the rotation of the Earth; the two magnitude 9-plus earthquakes this century both altered the length of the day by a tiny but measurable fraction of a second.

    一場 9 級地震已經顯著改變了地球的自轉; 本世紀的兩次 9 級以上地震都將一天的長度改變了微小但可測量的幾分之一秒。

  • In order to get to magnitude 10, you'd need a ruptured fault line three and a half thousand kilometers long, and a magnitude 11 quake would require a fault that went half way around the world!

    為了達到 10 級地震,需要一條長達三千五千公尺的斷層線,而 11 級地震則需要一個繞了半個地球的斷層!

  • A magnitude 15 earthquake would be a million times more powerful than that, and involve the release of enough energy to evaporate all the water on earth, though, if that happened,

    一場 15 級地震的威力將是其一百萬倍,並且會釋放出足夠的能量來蒸發地球上所有的水,不過,如果發生這種情況,

  • we can rest easy knowing the earthquake couldn't cause any tsunamis!


  • Going a few steps further, a magnitude 18 earthquake would release nearly ten to the thirty-two Joules of energy, which is roughly the gravitational binding energy of the Earth.


  • To put it another way, the Death Star caused a magnitude 18 earthquake on Alderaan.


  • You could in theory talk about a "more powerful" earthquake on Earth, but in practice all it would mean is that the expanding cloud of space debris would be faster and hotter.


  • The Sun, with its higher gravitational binding energy, could have up to a magnitude 24 quake.

    太陽的引力束縛能較高,可能會發生高達 24 級的地震。

  • This is about the energy release you would get if you packed the entire volume of Jupiter with hydrogen bombs and detonated them all at once.


  • The most powerful quakes in the known universe, which occur in superheavy neutron stars, are about this magnitude.


  • A magnitude 25 quake would explode the sun.

    25 級地震將使太陽爆炸。

  • Hold onwe're spending a lot of time talking about things that are large and violent.


  • What about the bottom end of the scale?


  • Is there such a thing as a magnitude 0 earthquake?

    有沒有 0 級地震?

  • Yes!


  • In fact, the scale goes all the way down past zero.


  • Let's take a look at some low-magnitude "earthquakes," with a description of what they would be like if they hit your house.


  • A magnitude 1 quake releases the same energy as dropping a partially loaded cement truck from 10 meters onto the street in front of your house.

    1 級地震釋放的能量相當於將一輛部分裝載的水泥卡車從 10 公尺高處扔到你家門前的街道上。

  • A magnitude 0 earthquake is equivalent to the Dallas Cowboys American football team running at full tilt into the side of your neighbor's garage.

    0 級地震相當於達拉斯牛仔隊的美式足球隊全速衝進鄰居車庫的一側。

  • A magnitude negative one quake is like a single American football player running into a tree in your yard.

    負 1 級地震就像美國橄欖球運動員撞到了你院子裡的一棵樹。

  • A cat falling off a dresser would have a magnitude of negative two.


  • A cat knocking your cell phone off your nightstand would have magnitude negative three.


  • Magnitude negative four is like a penny falling off of a dog.


  • Magnitude negative five is a key press on an IBM model M mechanical keyboard.

    震級負五是 IBM M 型機械鍵盤上的按鍵。

  • Negative six is a key press on a lightweight keyboard.


  • Negative seven is a single feather fluttering to the ground.


  • A fine grain of sand falling onto the pile at the bottom of a tiny hourglass would be a magnitude negative eight quake.


  • And let's jump all the way down to magnitude negative fifteen: a drifting mote of dust coming to rest gently on a table.


  • Sometimes it's nice not to destroy the world for a change.


This is a question from Alex, who asks: What if a Richter magnitude 15 earthquake were to hit America at, let's say, New York City?

這是 Alex 提出的問題,他問道:如果一場芮氏規模 15 地震襲擊美國,比方說紐約市,該怎麼辦?

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