General information and resources for students and adult learners.

Richter Scale

Charles Francis Richter (1900-85) invented and gave his name to a scale or measuring the intensity of earthquakes, the Richter Scale.

Dr Richter, an American, was professor of seismology at the California Institute of technology, Pasadena and it was there that he worked with another seismologist, the German born Dr Beno Gutenberg (189-1960), in developing a method of calculating the magnitude of earthquakes. The Richter Scale is in fact also known as the Gutenberg-Richter Scale.

Earthquakes has been mentioned in some of the earliest records of civilisation, but there was little or no attempt made to study the subject scientifically until the last century and instruments were not used in a coordinated way on a world-wide basis until the 1920s.  With Richter's method it is now possible to assess the intensity of an earthquake at any distance.  Modern methods of detection and analysis cannot of course, prevent earthquakes, though in some cases warnings can be given and measures accordingly taken to lessen their effect on people and property. 


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