April 26th National Richter Scale Day

The Richter Scale defines magnitude as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of the seismic waves to an arbitrary, minor amplitude.  So, now that we all know what that is, we can probably sleep a little better tonight.  Charles Richter, with assistance from Dr. Beno Gutenberg, figured this all out.  It was published in 1935 and has been used ever since, with a few modification. Kinda shows you that an earthquake is an earthquake whether it erupts in 2016 or 3 B.C..

The number value assigned to the violence associated with an earthquake magnifies with the earthquake’s depth, epicenter location and population density as well as a few other technical items that I could not decipher. The highest recorded earthquake in modern times, since they had the Richter Scale, was recorded by the United States Geological Service in 1960, a 9.5 called the Great Chilean Earthquake.

Now I have come up with my own definitions for the scale they have devised.  I am not trying to flippent with my definitions but honestly, do we really care about what the scientist label these earthquakes if we happen to be in the middle of one?  (Or maybe if they explained it so anyone could understand it) So, here we go…

.0 – It never happened.  Really, it’s .0!

.02 – Like a handgrenade has gone off near you.


1.5 – You were near a construction blast.


2.1 – A fertilizer plant blowing up.


3.0 – The Oklahoma City terrorist explosion

Oklahoma City Bombing 20th Anniversary
FILE – In this May 5, 1995 file photo, a large group of search and rescue crew attends a memorial service in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast killed 168 people _ including 19 children _ injured hundreds more and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to structures and vehicles in the downtown area. (AP Photo/Bill Waugh, Flle)

3.5 – The Pepcon Fuel Plant explosion in 1988


3.87 – The Chernobyl Nuclear explosion in 1986.


3.91 – Shock & Awe


6.0 – Little Boy during World War 2


7.9 – The Tunguska Event


8.35 – Tsar Bomba


9.15 – The Toba Volcano eruption 75,000 years ago.  (Sorry, no photos here.)

13.0 – Well, just kiss your … goodbye.

How to celebrate: Well this is Charles Richter’s birthday, April 26th, 1900. (He died in 1985).  Get as far away from an fault line as you can.  Forget all this an just go on with your day, nothing you can do about it anyway!


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