`Impossible to Remain Standing': Japan's Quake Scale

  • Shindo scale measures shaking in a specific location
  • Kyushu quake triggered highest level of shaking on scale

The stone wall of Kumamoto Castle is damaged by the earthquake on April 15.

Photographer: Masterpress/Getty Images

On April 15, the day after the first in a series of damaging earthquakes struck a rural part of southern Japan, all of the nation’s major newspapers carried the same headline: "Shindo 7 in Kumamoto." No further explanation was needed.

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