# What is the Richter Scale?

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The Richter Scale is famous for measuring the magnitude of an earthquake. In other words, it measures the severity of an earthquake from 0-10 with each unit of the Richter Scale being measured by a factor of 10. The more severe an earthquake is, the highe

The Richter Scale is famous for measuring the magnitude of an earthquake. In other words, it measures the severity of an earthquake from 0-10 with each unit of the Richter Scale being measured by a factor of 10. The more severe an earthquake is, the higher the measurement will be. It may be possible for the Richter Scale to measure an earthquake higher than 10 if one at this sort of magnitude does strike.

Earthquakes usually measuring fewer than 2 are not serious at all. These small earthquakes cannot even be felt whereas earthquakes measuring over 7 can do devastating damage to property and large acres of land.

Causes of Earthquakes

Earthquakes may occur due to two major causes. These causes are because of either volcanic eruptions or the movements of tectonic plates.

An Earthquake occurring due to tectonic activity is the most frequent cause of earthquakes. This happens because all of the tectonic plates are frequently moving either apart from each other or crashing into one another. When two tectonic plates start crashing into one another, they begin to build a lot of pressure which might last for hundreds or even thousands of years, eventually, the tectonic plates cannot withstand a lot of the pressure so the rocks break in a sudden shatter and both plates begin to shake. This is when the earthquake strikes. The more intense the pressure, the stronger the earthquake is. Smaller earthquakes occur hundreds and thousands of times a year, fortunately, these earthquakes are so small that they cannot be felt by anyone. However, larger earthquakes can devastate entire countries and cost a lot of lives, property and a person’s wealth. For more information about the causes of earthquakes, please visit, ‘causes of earthquakes’.

Look at the graph below about the frequency of an earthquake per year.

 Number of Earthquakes Frequency Affects of this Magnitude 1 - 3.4 800,000 Can only be noticed by seismometers 3.5 – 4.2 30,000 Can be just about noticed at home 4.3 – 4.8 4,800 Windows rattle, earthquake is noticeable 4.9 – 5.4 1400 Very noticeable, doors may swing, plant pots and dishes may break 5.5 – 6.1 500 Little damage to properties, bricks may fall 6.2 – 6.9 100 Lots of damage to properties, chimneys fall, homes move 7.0 – 7.3 15 Strong damage to properties, buildings collapse, bridges break off 7.4 – 7.9 4 Extensive damage to properties, buildings and cities 8.0+ One every 5 or 10 years Total damage to properties, tsunamis, floods, thousands of people die

Summary

Overall, earthquakes can do nothing if they are weak. But on the other hand, they can cause serious damage to properties and even the entire country. Find out how you can prepare for an earthquake if you’re living in an area where earthquakes are frequent.

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Roberta Baxter
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Posted on May 9, 2011