Q:

What type of scale is used to measure earthquakes?

A:

Quick Answer

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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Full Answer

The Richter scale is a logarithmic scale that measures the intensity of seismic vibrations in the Earth’s crust. The scale is numbered from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the most severe earthquakes. The magnitude or intensity of an earthquake is measured in whole numbers and decimal fractions. Earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.0 or less are often called micro quakes, while major earthquakes usually have a magnitude of 4.5 or greater. A seismograph is the instrument used to measure these seismic vibrations.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a diagram of the Richter scale?

    A:

    A 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.

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  • Q:

    How high does the Richter scale go?

    A:

    The Richter scale does not have an upper limit. The Richter scale is a logarithmic representation of the amount of energy released by an earthquake, or its magnitude. As of 2014, the earthquake that rated highest in recorded history was a 9.5-magnitude quake in Chile in 1960.

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  • Q:

    What is the formula for determining the difference in intensity between two Richter scale values?

    A:

    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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  • Q:

    How do we measure earthquakes?

    A:

    The strength of an earthquake is measured by its Moment Magnitude Scale, or MMS. The MMS measures the total energy, or seismic moment, of an earthquake. The seismic moment of an earthquake is measured based on three factors: the distance rocks slide, the area of the fault slide and the rigidness of the rocks that are broken.

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