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Earthquake measure seismograph magnitude | The Old Farmer's Almanac

How to Measure Earthquakes

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Wondering how earthquakes are measured? Seismologists have developed a new measurement of earthquake size, called the Moment Magnitude.

All earthquakes can now be compared on the same scale with the Moment Magnitude. Previously, the Richter scale was used, however, it is precise only for measuring earthquakes of a certain size and at a certain distance from a seismometer.

See the Moment Magnitude chart below.

Magnitude Effect
Less than 3 Micro
3–3.9 Minor
4–4.9 Light
5–5.9 Moderate
6–6.9 Strong
7–7.9 Major
8 or more Great

 

About The Author

Heidi Stonehill

Heidi Stonehill is a senior editor for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, where she focuses much of her time on managing content development for the Almanac’s line of calendars. Read More from Heidi Stonehill

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