- for the standard measure of earthquake magnitudes. It is named for Charles Richter of the California Institute of Technology, who invented it in the 1930s. The scale increases at a rate that is exponential rather than linear, making each level of increment vastly greater than most people realize. According to Charles Officer and Jake Page in Tales of the Earth, a magnitude 8.3 earthquake is 50 times stronger than a magnitude 7.3 quake and 2,500 times stronger than a magnitude 6.3 quake. In practical terms, this means that Richter magnitudes are largely meaningless to most readers and comparisons involving two or more Richter measurements are totally meaningless. It is considerate to the reader to provide, wherever possible, some basis of comparison beyond the bare Richter numbers. It is also worth bearing in mind that the Richter scale measures only the magnitude of an earthquake at its point of origin and says little or nothing about the degree of devastation at ground level.
Dictionary of troublesome word. Bill Bryson. 2013.
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Richter scale — ☆ Richter scale [rik′tər ] n. [devised by C. Richter (1900 85), U.S. seismologist] a logarithmic scale for indicating the magnitude of earthquakes using data from a seismograph: each step represents a magnitude that is about 10 times greater than … English World dictionary
Richter scale — ► NOUN ▪ a logarithmic scale for expressing the magnitude of an earthquake on the basis of seismograph oscillations. ORIGIN named after the American geologist Charles F. Richter (1900 85) … English terms dictionary
Richter scale — 1938, devised by U.S. seismologist Charles Francis Richter (1900 1985) … Etymology dictionary
Richter scale — a scale, ranging from 1 to 10, for indicating the intensity of an earthquake. [1935 40; after Charles F. Richter (1900 85), U.S. seismologist] * * * Widely used measure of the magnitude of an earthquake, introduced in 1935 by U.S. seismologists… … Universalium
Richter scale — for the standard measure of earthquake magnitudes. It is named for Charles Richter (1900–1985) of the California Institute of Technology, who invented it in the 1930s. The scale increases at a rate that is exponential rather than linear, making… … Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors
Richter scale — Rich|ter scale [ˈrıktə ˌskeıl, ˈrıx US tər ] n the Richter scale a system of numbers used for measuring how powerful an ↑earthquake is ▪ a severe earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale … Dictionary of contemporary English
Richter scale — [[t]rɪ̱ktə(r) skeɪl[/t]] N SING: the N The Richter scale is a scale which is used for measuring how severe an earthquake is. An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale struck California yesterday … English dictionary
Richter scale — noun a) A logarithmic scale used to express the energy released by an earthquake, each increase of 1 representing a 32 fold increase in energy. The students also faced and experienced earthquakes at various Richter scales. b) … Wiktionary
Richter scale — /ˈrɪktə skeɪl / (say riktuh skayl) noun an open ended logarithmic scale used to express the magnitude or total energy of a seismic disturbance (as an earthquake). In this scale an increase of 1 indicates a tenfold increase in energy. Recorded… … Australian English dictionary
Richter scale — Rich′ter scale n. gel a logarithmic scale for expressing the magnitude of an earthquake, a measurement under 5 considered minor and over 7 indicating major destruction • Etymology: 1935–40; after Charles F. Richter (1900–85), U.S. seismologist … From formal English to slang