100 Years of Earthquakes On One Gorgeous Map

Every recorded earthquake of magnitude 4 of higher since 1898
Every recorded earthquake of magnitude 4 of higher since 1898 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

100 Years of Earthquakes On One Gorgeous Map
Earth’s tectonic plates 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.

100 Years of Earthquakes On One Gorgeous Map
IRIS/USGS

More from Smithsonian.com:

The Great Midwest Earthquake of 1811

Shattered: Christchurch After 10,000 Earthquakes

Future Shocks