National Richter Scale Day 2016

Richter Scale Day is celebrated on April 26th around the world.  The inventor of this scale Charles F. Richter, was born on April 26th 1900.  He was a seismologist by profession and offered this scale as an indicator.  He died in 1985.

What does the Scale do?

It is used to quantitatively measure the amount of energy released by an earthquake.  Numbers are assigned to quantify the energy in an earthquake – the shaking amplitude and also the amount released.  Richter Scale Day reminds us of the importance of this work.


This scale was developed by Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg – both of whom worked in California Institute of Technology.  They worked together intending to study a particular area in California.

How is it used?

Many countries around the world are located on fault lines which occur naturally in the earth’s crust.  When tectonic plates shift – this can happen due to a number of reasons – they cause earthquakes.  These earthquakes also cause tidal waves or tsunamis, which are very destructive to coastal areas.

Many Weather Stations and Observatories monitor this activity to warn people ahead of major events so that they can move to safer ground.  Countries like Japan and New Zealand have started building structures which are fairly earthquake proof. 

In recent years, there have been several deadly earthquakes which have caused untold misery in different countries.  So, it is useful to have this scale and be aware of potential disaster.  The Richter Scale has helped countries like Japan put good safety and building codes in place.