What does the Richter scale measure and how does it work?
The Richter scale is a standard scale used to compare earthquakes. It is a logarithmic scale, meaning that the numbers on the scale measure factors of 10. So, for example, an earthquake that measures 4.0 on the Richter scale is 10 times larger than one that measures 3.0.
The Richter magnitude scale is a scale of numbers used to tell the size of earthquakes. Charles Richter developed the Richter Scale in 1935. His scale was based on the seismogram measured by a particular type of seismometer at a distance of 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the earthquake.
- The Richter scale is used to rate the magnitude of an earthquake -- the amount of energy it released. That is, the wave amplitude in a level 6 earthquake is 10 times greater than in a level 5 earthquake, and the amplitude increases 100 times between a level 7 earthquake and a level 9 earthquake.
- Earthquakes occur all the time all over the world, both along plate edges and along faults. Most earthquakes occur along the edge of the oceanic and continental plates. The earth's crust (the outer layer of the planet) is made up of several pieces, called plates.
- Scientists measure earthquakes using the Richter scale. This scale, invented in 1934 by California scientist Charles Richter, measures the magnitude of an earthquake, and the result is a number from 0 to 10, as measured on a machine called a seismograph.
Updated: 21st November 2019