Coastal & Marine Geology InfoBank

Home FACS Activities Atlas Geology School Related Sites More

USGS CMG InfoBank: Richter Scale

Skip navigational links
Dictionaries: Our Mapping Systems   The USGS and Science Education   USGS Fact Sheets   Topics   Keywords   Data Dictionary   Metadata Dictionary   Computer Terminology   Digital Formats  
InfoBank Terms: Activity ID   activity overview   crew   digital data   formal metadata   lines   metadata   NGDC   port stops   project/theme   region   ship   stations   time   virtual globe   year  
Data Types: bathymetry   biological   geochemical   gravity   ground penetrating radar   imaging   LIDAR   logs   magnetics   metering equipment   navigation   samples   seismic   total station   definitions disclaimer  
Data Formats: ARC coverage   E00   FGDC metadata   gridded/image   imaging   material   scattered/swath   Shapefile   vector/polygon  
Comment: 10:35 - 11:20 (00:45)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 9. Earthquakes
Keywords: "Richter Scale", magnitude, earthquake, "elastic energy", energy

Our transcription: The scale that Richter devised runs from magnitude minus 2 to infinity although seismologists believe that rocks can at most only store elastic energy equivalent to magnitude 9 before they snap.
The smallest tremors that can be discerned by humans feeling like the rumbling of a passing train measure about 2.5 on the Richter Scale.
A magnitude of 4 is equivalent to the amount of energy released by 1,000 tons of explosives.
A magnitude just above 8 represents about as much energy as produced by 200 one megaton nuclear bombs.
The reason for the huge jumps in energy between one unit and the next on the Richter Scale is that each unit of magnitude increases logarithmically by a factor of just over 30 times more energy released.

Geology School Keywords
Skip footer navigational links

Coastal and Marine Science Centers:  Pacific   St. Petersburg   Woods Hole  
InfoBank   Coastal and Marine Geology Program   Geologic Information   Ask-A-Geologist   USGS Disclaimer  

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: InfoBank staff
Page Last Modified: Thu Oct 31 04:26:03 PDT 2013  (chd)