The Richter scale is a logarithmic scale that gauges the magnitude of an earthquake’s force.
Invented by Charles Richter in 1935, it is measured on a seismograph machine, interpreting the data the machine picks up from the Earth’s vibrations.
Each number is 10 times more powerful than the previous number.
For example, a quake that registers 8.0 is 10 times stronger than one that measures 7.0; 100 times more powerful than one that measures 6.0; and 1,000 times more intense than one that measures 5.0.
The scale is from 1 to 9 but is technically open-ended.
Many factors influence what occurs during a quake, but the basic scale is as follows:
1.0 Detectable only by instruments
2.0 Barely detectable, even near epicenter 3.0 Felt indoors
4.0 Felt by most people; slight damage
5.0 Felt by all; damage minor to moderate
6.0 Moderately destructive
7.0 Major damage
8.0 Total and major damage
9.0 Devastating in areas several thousand miles across.
10.0 Never recorded.