United States Earthquake Intensity Database, 1638-1985

browse graphicMap of earthquake intensity locations.
The United States Earthquake Intensity Database is a collection of damage and felt reports for over 23,000 U.S. earthquakes from 1638-1985. The majority of intensities are for U.S. cities, but there are also a few earthquakes and intensities for Panama (1925-1975), the Philippines (1926-1937), and Mexico (1887-1981). The data were compiled from various publications, newspaper reports, and special catalogs. The annual serial "United States Earthquakes," is the principal data source and provides 90 percent of the observations. Most records in the file contain the date and time of occurrence and location of the earthquake, magnitude, focal depth, two-digit state code, name and coordinates of observing city or town, the observed intensity at each town, and the distance from city (or locality) to epicenter. The file consists of more than 150,000 earthquake intensity observations. The data file serves as an important information source for the preparation of intensity histories that are useful for environmental and hazard impact statements. The file is static and is no longer being updated.
Cite this dataset when used as a source.
  • ID not available.
gov.noaa.ngdc.mgg.hazards:G01142
Search Data
  • United States Earthquake Intensity Database Search (search)
    Use this form to search the U.S. Earthquake Intensity Database collection of intensities for over 23,000 U.S. earthquakes. The digital database contains information regarding epicentral coordinates, magnitudes, focal depths, names and coordinates of reporting cities (or localities), reported intensities, and the distance from city (or locality) to epicenter. The file is static and is no longer being updated.
Distribution Formats
  • ASCII
Distributor Hazards Data Manager
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI> National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
haz.info@noaa.gov
Dataset Point of Contact Nicolas Arcos
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
(303) 497-3158
haz.info@noaa.gov
Time Period 1638-06-11 to 1985-12-31
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates
N: 69.000000
S: 4.000000
E: 180.000000
W: -180.000000
Spatial Coverage Map
General Documentation
Associated Resources
  • Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale of 1931
Publication Dates
  • publication: 1972-01-01
Data Presentation Form Digital table - digital representation of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns
Dataset Progress Status Complete - production of the data has been completed
Data Update Frequency Not planned
Purpose Environmental and hazard impact studies, Research
Use Limitations
  • Produced by the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center. Not subject to copyright protection within the United States.
Originators
  • United States Geological Survey > Earthquakes Hazards Program
Points of Contact
  • Nicolas Arcos
    DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Publishers
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Acknowledgments
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS), United States Earthquakes, published annually by: Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1928-68; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1969-72; NOAA/U.S. Geological Survey from 1973-80; and U.S. Geological Survey from 1981-1986.
Theme keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
  • Earth Science > Solid Earth > Seismology > Earthquake Occurrences
  • Earth Science > Solid Earth > Seismology > Earthquake Dynamics
  • Earth Science > Solid Earth > Tectonics > Continental Tectonics
INFOTERRA Keyword Thesaurus
  • INFOTERRA > Disasters > Catastrophic phenomena > Earthquakes
  • INFOTERRA > Lithosphere > Seismic activity > Seismic activity
  • INFOTERRA > Lithosphere > Seismic monitoring > Seismic monitoring
Uncontrolled Keywords
  • Epicenter
  • Hypocenter
Data Center keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC > National Geophysical Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Instrument keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Instrument Keywords
  • Seismographs
  • Seismometers
Place keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • Global
Project keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Project Keywords
  • ICSU-WDS > International Council for Science - World Data System
Use Constraints No constraint information available
Access Constraints
  • Distribution liability: NOAA and NCEI make no warranty, expressed or implied, regarding these data, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NOAA and NCEI cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in these data. If appropriate, NCEI can only certify that the data it distributes are an authentic copy of the records that were accepted for inclusion in the NCEI archives.
Fees
  • Free online
Lineage information for: dataset
Lineage Statement Although the history of the development of earthquake intensity scales is long and interesting, only a brief summary will be presented here. Poarid, an Italian, made the first known attempt to classify earthquakes by intensity in 1627; he used a scale of four levels of intensity to describe effects of earthquakes experienced at different towns. Although many additional attempts were made in the 18th and 19th centuries to develop comprehensive scales for measuring earthquake intensity, none was more widely used than that formulated in 1873 by M. S. de Rossi of Italy and F. A. Forel of Switzerland. But this scale also had severe limitations, and therefore was superseded in the early 1900s by Mercalli's revised intensity scale; it contained 12 levels of intensity. In 1931, a modified version of Mercalli's scale was published by H. O. Wood and Frank Neumann. Known as the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale of 1931, it has become the standard used by the United States engineering seismology community, which includes the National Geophysical Data Center and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Processor
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Source Datasets
Lineage information for: repository
Processing Steps
  • 2015-04-22T00:00:00 - NOAA created the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) by merging NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), and National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), including the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), per the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235. NCEI launched publicly on April 22, 2015.
Last Modified: 2018-07-09
For questions about the information on this page, please email: haz.info@noaa.gov