Friday, March 19, 2010

French to English: Earthquakes, Part 3

Earthquake terminology is a vast mass of technical and scientific terms.  We are familiar with words like intensity, tremor, faults, Richter scale and aftershocks.  What we probably don't know are those esoteric terms that only earthquake scientists use when they're doing research, giving a conference, or writing scientific papers.

For example, what's a harmonic tremor?  I'm sure it has nothing to do with Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.  The USGS defines harmonic tremor as a series of earthquakes that seismographs detect.  They may or may not be a prelude to a volcanic eruption.

And what's the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale? The intensity number is usually written as a roman numeral and it measures the severity of an earthquake as it affects the earth's surface and human lives.  There are, of course, several intensity scales.  In the US, the Modified Mercalli and the Rossi-Forel scales are commonly used.

The Rayleigh wave is a seismic wave that occurs on the surface of the ground, causing the ground to move in elliptical motion.  An isoseismal line is a map illustration - usually in the form of a line or contour - showing which areas experienced the same intensity during an earthquake.

Recurrence interval is also called the return period and refers to the period of time of between major earthquakes in a given area.

Here is your third and final set of earthquake terms:

réplique (réplique sismique)aftershock
zone de BenioffBenioff zone
plan de faillefault plane
échelle géochronologiquegeologic time scale
tremblement harmoniqueharmonic tremor
isoséisteisoseismal line
échelle de Mercalli modifiéemodified Mercalli intensity scale
pédogénétiquepedogenic (set of processes that alter or transfer soil elements)
intervalle de récurrencerecurrence interval
onde de RayleighRayleigh wave

Come and visit again.  I start a new theme in my next posting!  I have not decided which theme I'll tackle next but I'm sure you'll be able to add the terms to your growing vocabulary!


  1. You're very welcome. I have not been able to post recently because of work, but I promise to be back!

  2. 上來逛逛,既來之,打聲招呼,留言支持一下囉!祝你一切平安!........................................

  3. Window shopping! How about shopping for chocolates? Read my latest blog. I haven't posted anything since March 19, but managed to post one today!