100 Years of Earthquakes On One Gorgeous Map | Smart News | Smithsonian
Current Issue
July / August 2014  magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Keeping you current

100 Years of Earthquakes On One Gorgeous Map

Data visualizer John Nelson compiled historical earthquake records to produce this gorgeous, and informative, map. In all, 203,186 earthquakes are marked on the map, which is current through 2003. And it reveals the story of plate tectonics itself.

smithsonian.com

Every recorded earthquake of magnitude 4 of higher since 1898. Photo: John Nelson/IDV Solutions

Data visualizer John Nelson, working for IDV Solutions, compiled historical earthquake records to produce this gorgeous, and informative, map. The larger, original version can be found here. Nelson chose to make the dots, which each represent an earthquake with a magnitude of 4 or higher, brighter or dimmer depending on the size of the quake, reports OurAmazingPlanet.

In all, 203,186 earthquakes are marked on the map, which is current through 2003. And it reveals the story of plate tectonics itself. 

To be sure, the brightest and densest regions of the map provide a tragically beautiful view of the planet’s tectonic plates. Though it may be even more interesting to see just how many earthquakes happen that aren’t along these major lines, which are so-called intraplate earthquakes

Earth’s tectonic plates. Photo: Dylan Prentiss

A slightly more technical take on a similar image appears in this IRIS image, which shows four decades of continuous earthquake detections from seismometers in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Photo: IRIS/USGS

 

More from Smithsonian.com:

The Great Midwest Earthquake of 1811

Shattered: Christchurch After 10,000 Earthquakes

Future Shocks

Tags
About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus