Richter scale

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noun

a scale, ranging from 1 to 10, for indicating the intensity of an earthquake.

Origin of Richter scale

1935–40; after Charles F. Richter (1900–85), U.S. seismologist
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British Dictionary definitions for richter scale

Richter scale

/ (ˈrɪxtə) /

noun

a scale for expressing the magnitude of an earthquake in terms of the logarithm of the amplitude of the ground wave; values range from 0 to over 9Compare Mercalli scale See also magnitude (def. 5)

Word Origin for Richter scale

C20: named after Charles Richter (1900–85) US seismologist
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Science definitions for richter scale

Richter scale

[ rĭktər ]

A logarithmic scale used to rate the strength or total energy of earthquakes. The scale has no upper limit but usually ranges from 1 to 9. Because it is logarithmic, an earthquake rated as 5 is ten times as powerful as one rated as 4. An earthquake with a magnitude of 1 is detectable only by seismographs; one with a magnitude of 7 is a major earthquake. The Richter scale is named after the American seismologist Charles Francis Richter (1900-1985). See Note at earthquake.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for richter scale

Richter scale

[ (rik-tuhr) ]

A scale used to rate the intensity of earthquakes. The scale is open-ended, with each succeeding level representing ten times as much energy as the last. A serious earthquake might rate six to eight, and very destructive quakes rate higher.


Note

No quake greater than nine has ever been recorded.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.