What Is Measured On A Richter Scale?

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The magnitude of most earthquakes is measured on something known as the Richter scale. The Richter scale was invented by a man called Charles F. Richter in 1934. The Richter scale is calculated from the amplitude of the ground motion recorded by a seismograph goes up ten times. Using this scale, a magnitude five earthquake, would result in ten times the level of ground shaking as a magnitude four earthquake and 32 times more energy would be released.

To give you an idea of how this scale works, you can think of it in terms of the energy being released from an earthquake. The magnitude from a 1 seismic wave releases as much energy as blowing up six ounces of TNT explosives! An 8 magnitude earthquake would be the equivalent to detonating six million tonnes of TNT! Fortunately for us, most earthquakes only reach a magnitude of 2.5 or less, too small to be felt by most humans.

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