Two of the most common methods used to measure earthquakes are the Richter scale and the moment magnitude scale. The Mercalli scale also measures the effects of an earthquake at different locations.
The Richter scale calculates the strength of an earthquake based on measurements of the amplitude of the largest wave recorded on a seismometer as well as the distance between the earthquake and the same seismometer. It was developed to measure earthquakes in California.
The moment magnitude scale is the preferred scale because it covers a wider range of magnitudes and can be applied globally. The scale is based on the earthquake's moment release, a measurement that combines the distance a fault moved and the amount of force required to move it.
Learn MoreA diagram that uses the Richter scale is used to measure the magnitude of an earthquake. When an earthquake takes place, a device called a seismograph records the earthquake's vibration, and multiple seismographs can form a coherent picture. From the resulting diagram, the earthquake's force can be determined.
Full Answer >The Richter scale is used to quantitatively measure the magnitude of an earthquake. This tool was devised by the seismologist Charles F. Richter in 1935.
Full Answer >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.
Full Answer >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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