Learn About the Richter Scale Video

The Richter Scale was created in 1935 Charles Richter of the California Institute of Technology. When an earthquake hits, seismic waves travel through Earth. Seismographs record the amplitude of those waves in a zig-zag trace. The Richter scale ma...
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What is Richter Scale? - as part of the news and politics series by GeoBeats. We all know that the richter scale value tells us the magnitude of an earthquake. Have you wondered how that came about? The scale was created in 1935 Charles Richter of the California Institute of Technology. When an earthquake hits, seismic waves travel through Earth. Seismographs record the amplitude of those waves in a zig-zag trace. The Richter scale magnitude is derived from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves on a seismograph. Richter scale was invented with the intention to use it in a local California study but was later expanded for usage in its current form. Because the scale is logarithm based, an increase in 1 whole number on the scale represents a 10 times increase in amplitude - which means an 8.0 earthquake would have 100 times more amplitude than a 6.0 earthquake. Also an increase in one number on the Richter scale translates to 31 times more increase in energy. According to the USGS estimates, 2-3 million earthquakes happen around the world every year. Most are too weak to be felt by humans. The world's strongest earthquake on record was a 9.5 in Chile on Mary 22nd, 1960.

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