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Measuring Earthquakes

Vocabulary
 challenging words: seismic, dynamite, seismograph, tectonic, formula, magnitude, classify, mathematical, generate, seismogram, earthquake, based, measurement, movement, scientist, scientific content words: Charles Richter

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 Measuring Earthquakes By Patti Hutchison

1     The Earth's crust is made up of many sections, called tectonic plates. These plates are always moving. Because of friction, the edges of the two moving plates may become stuck as they move against each other.

2     The pressure builds up, and rocks along the boundary of the two plates become deformed from the stress. Eventually the stress causes the rocks to break, or fault. The two plates move suddenly along the fault line. The ground shakes violently. It's an earthquake! The pressure is released as energy that moves in waves. These waves help us to measure an earthquake.

3     There are several ways to measure the size of an earthquake. The most scientific measurement is the Richter scale. This scale was developed by Charles Richter in the 1930s. Although it is used to measure the magnitude of earthquakes, it is not an instrument. It is a mathematical formula.

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