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Earthquakes
Shake, Rattle, Richter!



Shake, Rattle, Richter!
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.71

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    amplitude, coaxim, discontinuity, favorable, number-decimal, ratings, seismogram, seismograph, seismologists, magnitude, geologist, subjective, seismic, mechanism, analyze, measurement
     content words:    Although Dr, Charles Richter, Chang Heng, John Milne, Imperial College, Great Britain, When John Milne, John Winthrop, Andrija Mohorovicic, United States


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Shake, Rattle, Richter!
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     When people think of earthquakes, they usually think of the Richter scale. However, you may be surprised to know that measuring the effects of earthquakes has been a hot topic among seismologists for centuries. Although Dr. Charles Richter is one of the most famous seismologists, he had many before him to study.
 
2     The first known seismograph was invented in AD132 by Chinese astronomer Chang Heng. Heng built his device by mounting eight dragon heads on an urn. This urn was encircled by eight toads with opened mouths. Inside the urn Heng placed delicately weighted pendulums. When the device experienced vibrations from nearby earth tremors, the pendulums would release a mechanism. This mechanism would drop the bronze ball from a dragon's mouth to a toad's mouth. Each dragon's head stood for a specific direction or location. Heng would use the dragon's head, which dropped the ball, to determine the location of the earthquake. I guess you could call this Chang Heng's "earthquake trap."
 
3     In the early 1890's, British geologist John Milne developed the first accurate seismograph with other scientists in Tokyo, Japan. While studying and working at the Imperial College of Engineering, Milne helped to monitor the frequent quakes and other seismic activity that occurred in Japan. He then returned to his home in Great Britain during the early 1900's. Milne continued to study earthquakes, and he was responsible for setting up twenty-seven seismograph devices throughout Great Britain. When John Milne died in 1913, there were about forty seismograph stations worldwide that monitored earthquakes on land.

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