Mercalli scale

[ mer-kah-lee, mer-; Italian mer-kahl-lee ]
/ mərˈkɑ li, mɛr-; Italian mɛrˈkɑl li /

noun Geology.

a measure of earthquake intensity with 12 divisions ranging from I (felt by very few) to XII (total destruction).

Origin of Mercalli scale

1920–25; named after Giuseppe Mercalli (1850–1914), Italian seismologist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for mercalli scale

Mercalli scale

/ (mɜːˈkælɪ) /


a 12-point scale for expressing the intensity of an earthquake, ranging from 1 (not felt, except by few under favourable circumstances) to 12 (total destruction)Compare Richter scale See also intensity (def. 4)

Word Origin for Mercalli scale

C20: named after Giuseppe Mercalli (1850–1914), Italian volcanologist and seismologist
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Science definitions for mercalli scale

Mercalli scale

[ mər-kälē, mĕr- ]

A scale of earthquake intensity based on observed effects and ranging from I (detectable only with instruments) to XII (causing almost total destruction). It is named after the Italian seismologist Giuseppe Mercalli.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.