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A scale used to rate the strength or total energy of earthquakes. The scale has no upper limit but usually ranges from 1 to 9. Each increase in whole number represents a tenfold increase in magnitude, so that an earthquake rated as 5 is ten times as powerful as one rated as 4. An earthquake with a magnitude of 1 is detectable only by instruments (seismographs); one with a magnitude of 7 is a major earthquake. See Note at earthquake.

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Richter Scale is a logarithmic scale of 1 to 10 formerly used to express the magnitude of an earthquake on the basis of the size of seismograph oscillations.

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