Talk:Richter magnitude scale

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Re Gutenberg as co-inventor[edit]

IP please note the following.

If you have not yet read WP:BRD (describing how Reverts are to be followed by DISCUSSION, not by repeated addition of disputed material) please read it now.

After you have read about BRD you will understand: you should not revert a reversion. Come to Talk and Discuss. (Edit summaries are NOT a proper discussion.)

Continuing: when I initially reverted your Bold edit (re Gutenberg as co-inventor) I explained (here): "Please don't add Gutenberg without an authoritative source that says he was a co-inventor." To which you responded (in your edit summary): "It says so in the begging of the "Development" section and in Beno Gutenberg page."

Please note: First, that something is said somewhere is of no significance or effect here. You have to point to where that something is said, which we do by citing sources.

Second: we do not cite Wikipedia as a source. Each article has to do its own citation of outside sources.

Third: you do need to check any sources you cite. Don't take some other editor's word that the source supports the material; check the source yourself. And if you check the USGS page cited for that paragraph at "Development" you might notice that Gutenberg is mentioned only once, in connection with a different scale. So: even the the sources you allude to do not support your edit asserting Gutenberg as a co-inventor of the so-called "Richter scale".

I will be reverting (again) your edit. I strongly suggest you leave it be. Even if you come up with an incontrovertible source supporting "Gutenberg as co-inventor of the 'Richter' scale" – which, to judge by my reading of literature, is simply not the case – discuss it here first. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:15, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

Page 137 of this biographical memoir on Gutenberg, cited in his Wikipedia biography, argues for a larger contribution by Gutenberg. RockMagnetist(talk) 22:45, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
I suspect you are conflating Richter's individual effort in devising the ML  scale with his collaboration with Gutenberg on magnitudes generally, and specifically in devising the Ms  scale. Your source does not argue "for a larger contribution by Gutenberg"; it only says: "Gutenberg had an important influence on Richter's publication in 1935 of the local magnitude scale." [Emphasis added.] Of course Gutenberg "had an influence" on Richter – they were close colleagues. Also having influence on him, and explicitly credited by him for a suggestion and prior work, are H. O. Wood, Maxwell Allen, and Kiyoo Wadati. None of whom worked with him on devising the Local scale, and none of whom are deem a co-inventor. Gutenberg is mentioned several times, but only for his data.
The bottom line is that Richter was the sole author of the paper that first presented what became the "Local" ("Richter") scale, and is so credited by reliable sources. That hundreds (?) of unreliable web pages credit Gutenberg as a co-inventor of the Local magnitude scale, without attribution to a reliable source, is of no consequence for us. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:11, 10 February 2018 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable. To be honest, I didn't have the time to look closely at the issue - just thought I'd make sure you'd seen this source. RockMagnetist(talk) 17:41, 11 February 2018 (UTC)
Actually, no, I had not seen that particular source. But being the sole author of the original paper is, I think, pretty compelling. And I have seen enough material to be pretty certain there were no notable challenges, like perhaps a dispute about credit. I've "quartered" that topic well enough to be pretty confident there aren't any elephants in view. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:19, 11 February 2018 (UTC)

Sorry about the rude reversion. I am not famaliar with the rule about reversion. It is nice to put the controversy to open discussion. I found an interview with Charles Richter. Richter said:[1]

I refrained from attaching my personal name to it for a number of years... this somewhat underrates Gutenberg's part in developing it for further use...

According to the interview, it is Beno Gutenberg to suggest the logarithmic form in the definition of Richter magnitude scale. Also in another interview[2] (the same source that be cited in the end of the section "Development"), Richter said:

Incidentally, the usual designation of the magnitude scale to my name does less that justice to the great part that Dr. Gutenberg played in extending the scale to apply to earthquakes in all parts of the world.

I think it is fair to recognize Gutenberg as one of the contributors. (talk) 13:54, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

Does not matter. The criterion for stating that Gutenberg was a co-inventor is NOT what you (or us generally) think is fair, but WHAT THE SOURCES STATE. This has been explained to you, but as you seem to be deaf I feel I must repeat this: we go by WHAT THE SOURCES STATE.
As has been explained above (are you blind as well as deaf?): 1) Richter was (and remains) the sole author of the paper that presented his "magnitude" scale, which makes a strong case for being the sole inventor; 2) Richter did not credit (in the paper) Gutenberg as a contributor, though he did credit others; and 3) there is no indication that there has been any question of disputed, or even unfair, attribution.
Your behaviour here has not been of impartial consideration of some point to the end of improving the article; it is the pursuit of a particular point. That violates one of our core policies, that of WP:Neutral point of view. Your continuance in that mode, of a point that cannot be verified, your rejection (or ignoring) of input, your failure to "get the point", is tendentious. All of which are elements of WP:disruptive editing. Please note: disruptive editors may be blocked or banned indefinitely. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:20, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
@J. Johnson: Please take a deep breath. At the moment it is your behavior that is problematic. You are threatening this IP editor and making ad hominem attacks because they had the temerity to discuss this issue, as you requested. And why is an interview with Richter not a source? RockMagnetist(talk) 23:44, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
My comments on apparent deafness and blindness are not "of the man", but of the evident behavior. I have no objection to discussion (nor even temerity), except that this discussion is getting tendentious. Nor have I denied your source, or anything it actually says, or what Richter actually says, or even the proposition that Gutenberg had an influence. However, none of that says that Gutenberg's contributions made him a co-inventor. What is the basis for saying otherwise? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:24, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
To be clarified, I did not state Gutenberg as a co-inventor, but "... developed by Richter and Gutenberg." Richter first INVENTED it only for earthquakes in southern California. Later, Gutenberg and Richter DEVELOPED it further for earthquakes in whole world. [3] Finally, stop calling others blind or deaf which violates WP:NPA (talk) 00:52, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I am glad that you grasp the concept that Richter "first INVENTED" the so-called "Richter scale". But that is not what the edit you desire says. You want to say that Richter and Gutenberg were co-developers. But you (and the article, in its current form) completely overlook that only one of them INVENTED the "magnitude" scale. In leaving out that significant fact you imply that they were equal contributors, and even equal INVENTORS, from the first. However, that is factually untrue. Sure, the lede uses the weasely qualification of "in the 1930s", which (it could be argued) brings in the four Gerlands Beiträge papers. But that leaves out the significant revisions in the 1950s. And the beginning of the "Development" section, that you explicitly reference, specifically pins this co-equal "development" to 1935, when Richter's paper presented the "magnitude" scale for the first time. The subsequent development of ML can be attributed to Gutenberg and Richter together, but it was RICHTER, and Richter alone, that "first INVENTED" it. To leave that out (what a lawyer would call "omission of a material fact") and imply – as you do — that Gutenberg was a co-inventor is historical revisionism, and a fraud upon the reader.
The article is very poorly written (embarrassingly so), and (not surprisingly) very poorly researched. It needs a major rewrite. Which I will start on when I get some time. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:57, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
I have started a re-write. Haven't decided just how far I will go. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:55, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Logarithmic base[edit]

Am I wrong, or isn't the Richter scale having a base of the sqr(1000). This makes a magnitude difference of 2 , a 1000 times more or less energy released. (Depending on perspective of comparing two earthquakes) Aside of the history part, I think we should explain the differences better (without removing the formulas). Boeing720 (talk) 05:17, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

"Base" is not the correct concept here. It's more a matter of the scaling being logarithmic. The reference point (datum) is the amplitude observed at 100 km from a magnitude 3 quake on a Wood-Anderson seismograph (with other caveats), as explained in the article. For sure that could be explained better. Even less well explained is that the energy scales at about 101.5 times the amplitude. I have tried to explain this better at Seismic_magnitude_scales#"Richter" magnitude scale, but this article is such a mess I am not even tempted to try. (There is more important work to do.) To do it properly would require some study of seismology. If you want tackle this article I would be pleased to offer some pointers. ♦ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:23, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
I guess I get what you tell me here, and I might well have expressed myself clumsy. I was only referring to the math and comparing, totally regardless of how earthquakes are measured. A difference of 1 in this scale is "a square-root of 1000" stronger or weaker, I have to presume. (Which is a logarithmic base I've never encountered before, I've actually never seen other bases than e and 10 in usable formulas before, and I found that part especially interesting) What I meant was just "sqr(1000)" (and preferably written with the commonly used symbol for square roots) is better than "31.6" , mathematically. Nothing more than that. For physics and technology related to this article, I'm not the right man. Thanks. Boeing720 (talk) 22:05, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
That each unit of all earthquake magnitude scales is nearly numerically equal to "sqr(1000)" (and I quite understand the nomenclature) is probably a mere incidental, as I don't recall ever hearing or seeing "square root of 1000" in this context. It is a historical reality that Richter was measuring amplitude of shaking, which is logarithmic. ♦ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:41, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. Just like I never have doubted your knowledge, I hope you too can see that I'm aware of for instance waves, amplitudes and frequencies (or the inverse of frequency, wave length etc).
What I mean is that we use the approximate number 31.6 instead of the exact math expression sqr(1000). I'm not questioning any of the methods used for measuring earthquakes. However all logarithms are based on one exact number, which in this case must be sqr(1000) [and can be mathematically written with an exponent (or power) instead, like sqr(x) = x^(1/2)].
It's about this sentence only: "Thus, a difference in magnitude of 1.0 is equivalent to a factor of 31.6...." which I think could be changed to "Thus, a difference in magnitude of 1.0 is equivalent to a factor of sqr(1000)....." but preferably with the commonly used sqr symbol used instead. We do not use 2.71 but e, nor 3.14 but pi and I think this is somewhat similar. Sqr(1000) is exact, 31.6 is an approximation. Boeing720 (talk) 20:52, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I do recognize that you are cognizant of the math, but, as I said before, in my (somewhat limited) exposure to the math of seismology I don't recall seeing or hearing the relationship described (in any form) as "square root of 1000". And for majority of readers that is a useless exactness of an unknown quantity, whereas "31.6" is an immediately graspable quantity.
While a more precise form is suitable for more technical readers, in such cases we should go with the formulation found in the authoritative sources. And again, I don't recall seeing "sqr(1000)".
As I said in the preceding section, I consider the article very poorly written, and could use a major rewrite. But for the sentence in question, and considering the intended audience, I think "31.6" is better than "sqr(1000)". ♦ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:47, 3 October 2019 (UTC)