Definition of Richter scale in English:

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Richter scale

Pronunciation: /ˈriktər ˌskāl/


A numerical scale for expressing the magnitude of an earthquake on the basis of seismograph oscillations. The more destructive earthquakes typically have magnitudes between about 5.5 and 8.9; the scale is logarithmic and a difference of one represents an approximate thirtyfold difference in magnitude.
Example sentences
  • Each unit on the Richter scale represents a thirty-fold increase of energy.
  • Seismographs and the Richter scale are just one type of graph that scientists use to measure the world.
  • Nine on the Richter scale indicates an earthquake of absolutely awesome destructive power.


1930s: named after Charles F. Richter (1900–85), American geologist.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Rich·ter scale

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