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Richter Scale Machine

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To produce a practical method of assigning an absolute measure of magnitude required additional developments. First, to span the wide range of possible values Richter adopted Gutenberg's suggestion of a logarithmic scale, where each step represents a tenfold increase of magnitude, similar to the magnitude scale used by astronomers for star brightness. Second, he wanted a magnitude of zero to be around the limit of human perceptibility. Third, he specified the Wood–Anderson seismograph as the standard instrument for producing seismograms. Magnitude was then defined as "the logarithm of the maximum trace amplitude, expressed in microns", measured at a distance of 100 km. The scale was calibrated by defining a magnitude 3 shock as one that produces (at a distance of 100 km) a maximum amplitude of 1 micron (1 µm, or 0. 001 millimeters) on a seismogram recorded by a Wood–Anderson torsion seismograph. Finally, Richter calculated a table of distance corrections, in that for distances less than 200 kilometers the attenuation is strongly affected by the structure and properties of the regional geology.



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