The Richter Scale is a set of numbers used to measure earthquakes, in the same way as centimetres are used for measuring distances. It goes on forever but we usually just use the numbers from 1 to 10:

  1. You wouldn't feel it.
  2. You wouldn't notice it but scientists could measure it. Ponds might ripple.
  3. You might feel it and hanging objects might sway.
  4. Buildings shake a little.
  5. Windows may break.
  6. Furniture would move and buildings may crack.
  7. Some buildings fall down and the ground cracks.
  8. Most buildings and bridges fall down.
  9. Devastation.
  10. Never recorded yet.

Every number up doesn't just mean it's a bit bigger, it means it's ten times bigger!

The most powerful earthquake ever recorded was 9.5 on the Richter Scale, in Chile in 1960.

The measurements are made using machines called seismometers.