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Is an earthquake felt inside a car?

Paola Sbarra, Patrizia Tosi, Valerio De Rubeis and Diego Sorrentino
Is an earthquake felt inside a car?
Seismological Research Letters (February 2021) 92 (3): 2028-2035


The analysis of how an earthquake is felt was addressed with the data provided by citizens through a website dedicated to the perception of earthquakes in Italy (Data and Resources). The analysis focused on the perception of earthquakes by observers inside both parked and moving cars. These situations were compared with outdoor ones. The felt percentage of each situation was quantified for epicentral distance ranges and European Macroseismic Scale (EMS) degree. One of the main findings was the greatest sensitivity to shaking for people inside parked cars due to resonance phenomena of the automobile-observer system. The distribution of the intensity of perception in the car was analyzed as a function of the hypocentral distance and the magnitude of the earthquake. It was possible to define the attenuation trends of these intensities. The comparison of these trends with those of the equations for estimation of response spectral ordinates allowed us to have an evaluation of the frequency values of the seismic waves that caused the vibrations felt, which were found to agree with the typical frequencies of the car-observer system, as highlighted by independent studies. The results of this analysis show the possibility to include the perception of the earthquake inside a parked and moving car among the diagnostics used in the definition of macroseismic intensity degree of the EMS.

ISSN: 0895-0695
EISSN: 1938-2057
Serial Title: Seismological Research Letters
Serial Volume: 92
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Is an earthquake felt inside a car?
Affiliation: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy
Pages: 2028-2035
Published: 20210217
Text Language: English
Publisher: Seismological Society of America, El Cerrito, CA, United States
References: 27
Accession Number: 2021-045576
Categories: Seismology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table
N36°30'00" - N47°30'00", E06°30'00" - E19°00'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Seismological Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 202132
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