**Making Sense Of The Richter Scale . . . It’s Simple, But ****It’s Not Easy!**

The Richter Scale is a logarithmic scale that has been used for measuring the seismic energy given off by earthquakes since the 1930s. While it serves a scientific purpose when measuring small tremors that occur every day, it’s exponential nature makes it very impractical for use when describing earthquake magnitude in easily quantifiable terms.

We think of a scale as a linear continuums where each segment is equal. Not so on the Richter Scale. On the Richter Scale each whole number increase represents a ten-fold increase in seismic energy. So, a 2 is ten times greater than a 1, and a 7 is 100 times greater than a 5. As you can see, it is difficult to get an accurate sense of magnitude when using the Richter Scale without converting to “real numbers,” as shown in the chart below.

**The Japanese Earthquake Of 2014 Scored A Record-Breaking 9 On The Richter Scale.**

That seems like a little more that double a 4, when in fact a 4 scores a 1,000 (one thousand) in real numbers and a 9 scores 100,000,000 (one hundred million). Quite a change in perspective wouldn’t you say?

Richter Scale = conversion to “real numbers”

1 = 1

2 = 10

3 = 100

4 = 1,000

5 = 10,000

6 = 100,000

7 = 1,000,000

8 = 10,000,000

9 = 100,000,000

10 = 1,000,000,000