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# What does the Richter Scale measure?

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### Quick Answer

The Richter Scale measures the magnitude of an earthquake. The scale was created in 1935 by American seismologist and physicist Charles F. Richter.

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### Full Answer

Seismographs record the amplitude of the waves from an earthquake, which are then used in a logarithm to calculate the quake's size. Adjustments to the measurements are made for various factors including distance from the seismograph and the quake's epicenter. The largest earthquake recorded, as of January 2015, is the Great Chilean Earthquake. The 1960 quake registered a 9.5 on the Richter Scale.

The Richter Scale is rarely used anymore since the creation of the moment magnitude scale. The scale is more accurate in determining size.

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## Related Questions

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The Richter scale is logarithmic. Each whole-number jump indicates a tenfold increase in wave magnitude and a 31.7 increase in energy released. For example, a Richter 9 earthquake has 100 times the magnitude and 1004.89 times the energy of a Richter 7 earthquake.

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The Mercalli scale is a seismic scale used to measure the intensity of an earthquake. The measurement is based on observations and experiences, and it is currently measured on a scale of 12 degrees of intensity, indicated by Roman numerals I through XII.

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The scale used to measure the severity of earthquakes is called the Richter scale. The Richter scale was invented by an American seismologist named Charles Richter at the California Institute of Technology in 1935.

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The difference between the Richter and Mercalli scales, both intended to measure earthquake severity, is that the Richter scale is a mathematical scale based on the measurements of scientific instruments, while the Mercalli scale is based on witness observation and structural damage. The Richter scale is much more objective and scientific and is usable anywhere there is an earthquake. The Mercalli scale is useless outside of populated areas.

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