Today we celebrate Charles F. Richter, born April 26th, 1900, the seismologist who invent the scale in 1935. The scale goes from 0-9 with 9 being the most severe. The few 9’s that have been recorded normally mean a Tsunami is to follow. So not only do you have to survive the earthquake, you now have a tidal wave to deal with. Most of us are aware that most of San Fransisco was nearly destroyed in the 1800’s by an earthquake that would have measured, if the Richter scale had been available then, at 7.8. It’s hard to imagine a 9. In 1812 an earthquake determined to be an 8.6 caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards in what is called a Fluvial Tsunami. When the earth’s plate shift, we are all bound to notice it whether we are directly effected or not. It is believed one day California will fall back into the ocean because of the plates underneath the coast.
How to celebrate – Rejoice if you live in an area where earthquakes are rare! Learn what type of destruction comes from every level on the Richter Scale. Listen to Carol King’s “I Feel the Earth Move”.
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
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!