Q:

# What type of scale is used to measure earthquakes?

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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 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

• 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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• 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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• 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.