Shake It Up: The Richter Earthquake Site

April 2022 UPDATE!

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Attention Educators: Richter Day Rebranded as Earthquake Day

Plan to delve into earthquakes with your students? Look no further than the wonderful online resources located at and the YouTube video, "Remarkable Richter".

Both of these resources were produced for educators and the public by the Friends of Chrisholm Historic Farmstead with a grant from the W.E. Smith Family Charitable Trust along with the support of the Butler County Educational Service Center. This year Richter Day, previously celebrated on Charles F. Richter’s April 26th birthday, has been officially rebranded as Earthquake Day in honor of Charles Richter.

The famous scientist Charles Richter, responsible for the development of the Richter Scale that measures the magnitude of earthquakes, was born in 1900 on a farm on Wehr Road in Butler County, Ohio. Richter’s father Frederick Kinsinger was a member of the Butler County Amish Mennonite settlement now represented by the Chrisholm Farmstead MetroPark of Butler County.

It is fitting that Richter’s birthday and Earthquake Day occur in the month of April, Autism Awareness Month. Susan Hough, author of "Richter’s Scale", speculates that Richter dealt with the challenges associated with autism and Asperger’s syndrome and yet persisted in making a significant contribution to the field of seismology.

The rebranded Earthquake Day in Honor of Richter will increase the magnitude, or reach, of Richter Day without diminishing the intensity of the day’s focus on Charles Richter. By focusing primarily on earthquakes and changing the name to reflect that focus the appeal of the resources has been broadened. Educators in Ohio and elsewhere in their search for information about earthquakes will find a treasure trove of information and earthquake related activities at and in addition learn about the remarkable Charles Richter, native son of Butler County, Ohio.

Is there a National Earthquake Day? Not yet. Who knows what might happen if some students join us in an effort to push toward designating Charles Richter’s April 26th birthday as National Earthquake Day? But even if Earthquake Day eventually goes national, Butler County, Ohio will remain the epicenter of remarkable Richter’s legacy.

Anne K. Jantzen


Shake It Up: The Richter Earthquake Site

This website and resource hub is brought to you by the Friends of Chrisholm in partnership with the Butler County Educational Resource Center. The goal of this website is to provide students, teachers, and the general public with access to curated digital resources detailing the life and legacy of one of Butler County's most famous residents - Charles F. Richter.

The resources provided are designed with Ohio learning standards in mind and can be used in the physical classroom, in an online or virtual classroom, or for simply interactively learning about a man who made a significant contribution to the world's scientific community.

Welcome to the site, and we hope that you find the resources and activities valuable in learning more about a former Butler County resident, Charles F. Richter.

"Charles F. Richter was born approximately one mile from Busenbark at Sunnyside Farm on Wehr Road, Overpeck. In 1909, his family moved to California. In 1928, Richter received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology and began work at the Seismology Laboratory. That same year, he married Lillian Brand, a creative writing teacher. Working with Beno Gutenberg, Richter developed a means to measure the magnitude of earthquakes, which was published as the Richter Scale in 1935. Richter also helped to establish the Southern California Seismic Array, a network of instruments that tracks the origin and intensity of earthquakes. He knew seven languages, authored textbooks, and devoted his life to seismology."

*Special Note to Educators*

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A Special Note to Educators: This site, with its accompanying video about Charles Richter, was designed to be informative to the general public as well as to students currently in school. You will therefore find it presented in a multi-disciplinary way rather than strictly by a single school subject and/or grade level. That said you will find many resources on the site that will supplement your specific curriculum and the Ohio State Standards, plus many other resources and activities to inspire and motivate your students. Have a look and see if you don’t agree with us that every student in Butler County, the state of Ohio, or anywhere else in the world can benefit from knowing more about this Ohio hero, Charles Francis Richter.

The Richter Earthquake Site supports a number of the Ohio Learning Standards for grades 3 through 8. Most notably it encourages students’ scientific thinking because the content is framed in a context that is relevant to students, significant from a global perspective, and requires students to communicate findings and research to an external audience. It also integrates reading, writing, speaking, and listening so that students can apply and synthesize their advancing literacy skills.

The Richter Earthquake Site can be used in teaching these earth science learning standards:

4.ESS.1: Earth’s surface has specific characteristics and landforms that can be identified. Catastrophic events such as flooding, volcanoes, and earthquakes can create landforms.

8.ESS.1: The composition and properties of Earth’s interior are identified by the behavior of seismic waves.

8.ESS.2: Earth’s lithosphere consists of major and minor tectonic plates that move relative to each other.

8.ESS.3: A combination of constructive and destructive geologic processes formed Earth’s surface.

8.ESS.4: Evidence of the dynamic changes of Earth’s surface through time is found in the geologic record.

The Richter Earthquake Site can also be used to teach concepts important to the development of historical thinking. Historical thinking includes skills such as locating, researching, analyzing, and interpreting primary and secondary sources so that students can begin to understand the relationships among events and draw conclusions. The site supports these basics of historical thinking:

● Ideas and events from the past have shaped the world as it is today.

● The actions of individuals and groups have made a difference in the lives of others.

In addition, these ways of doing history are emphasized: the creation of timelines and the use of primary and secondary sources to examine events from multiple perspectives.

From 1895 Atlas of Butler County, Ohio

Overpeck, Ohio - Butler County

Location of the Richter farm in Google Maps

What occurred on April 26, 1900?

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Charles Richter was born in Overpeck, Ohio! Overpeck, Ohio is in Butler County in between Trenton and New Miami.

Charles Francis Richter - American seismologist and physicist. Richter is known around the world as the creator of the Richter Magnitude Scale in 1935, which quantified the size of earthquakes.