Tzemach Yehudah Richter

Jewish Geology – 101 : Who Invented The Richter Scale? This May Shock You


I only took one Geology Class at the University of Minnesota


Our professor told us that the world is tens of thousands of years old. How did he know?

He was going to show us proof on a field trip to the banks of the Mississippi River where the University is located. There we would see all the different rock formations that he claims will prove it.


The problem with his theory is that if the world was created with age like the Garden of Eden, etc., then how can he prove anything by looking at a rock formation regarding time, since he was never there?


There was another problem I had with Geology Class, which I recently discovered…

As I previously mentioned, there is a Scale developed by Charles Richter, who is many times referred to as the Inventor of the Richter Scale.

I believed that also until I went to my Kollel recently.

In Gemora Baba Kama, Daf 91a, it describes a scale of one to ten tefachim which is the maximum depth a hole can be in a public domain before death most likely will occur.

The version Charles Richter discovered is also a scale with a maximum reading of ten. Since this scale first appears in the Gemora, I feel that it should be said Charles Richter did not invent the Richter Scale, but rather he discovered it, since it appears in the Gemora long before Charles Richter was born.


The most severe quake recorded in US history, as far as I remember, was the  March 27,1964 Alaskan Quake, which measured slightly above 9 on the Richter Scale. That date was on Good Friday, which was Erev Pesach that year.


The amazing thing is no earthquake reading has been higher since.  So we must credit Charles Richter for developing a Scale roughly 30 years after the San Francisco Quake with a maximum reading of 10, that specifically pertains to earthquakes.


So why was Charles Richter so confident the reading would never go over 10, which turns out to be the case even today, almost a Century after it was discovered?


To me this is fascinating and makes me want to learn more. But not from University textbooks; but rather the true source for many discoveries we have today, which of course are contained in our written and oral laws – Torah, Gemora, Mishanyis, etc.


I spend some of my time learning in the morning where Rabbi Michoel Fletcher originally from Manchester, UK is our teacher. He gives a wonderful Amud Yomi shiur twice a day with chazara on Friday from which we have learnt a tremendous amount.

He has also written a number of sefarim which can be seen on the website of Menucha Publishers.

In his book entitled Do You Know Hilchos Shabbat, published in 2013, he lists his students who learn with him, and my name appears on Page 20.

I therefore have to give credit to Rabbi Fletcher for my discovery of what appears to be a source for the Richter Scale.

There are so many things to learn and a vast amount of opportunities exist for men and women worldwide who are not working at the moment, near retirement age, or want to take a break from their busy work schedule to test it out.  I encourage you to be in contact with your local Chabad, Aish Hatorah, Ohr Sameach to name a few to get started.










About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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