We present theoretical calculations and experimental measurements of silicon micromachining rates, efficiency of laser pulse utilization, and morphology changes under UV nanosecond pulses with intensities ranging from 0.5 GW/cm2 to 150 GW/cm2. Three distinct irradiance regimes are identified based on laser intensity. At low intensity, proper gas dynamics and ablation vapor plume kinetics are taken into account in our theoretical modeling. At medium high intensity, we incorporate the proper plasma dynamics, and predict the effects of the laser generated vapor plasma and the electron hole plasma on the laser-matter interaction. At even higher intensity, we attribute the observed increased ablation rate to energy re-radiation from the laser heated hot plasma, the strong shock wave, and the accompanied strong shock wave heating effects. Experimentally measured data in these regimes agree well with our calculations, without changing parameters in the calculations used for the three regimes. Our results can be applied toward quantitatively characterize the behavior of ablation results under different laser parameters to achieve optimal results for micromachining of slots and vias on silicon wafers.