Tuesday, October 13, 2020

120 Years of Earthquakes


Eruptions, Earthquakes, & Emissions is an animated interactive map which visualizes volcanic eruptions and earthquakes around the world since 1960. The map also shows volcanic gas emissions since 1978 - which was the first year when satellites began monitoring SO2 emissions. 

This animated interactive map from the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program includes a timeline of volcanic and earthquake activity across the whole world. Using the timeline you can explore earthquakes and eruptions around the world for any year since 1960. If you press play on the map you can watch all this activty animated on the map over time. This animation of global volcanic and earthquake activity clearly reveals the so called 'Ring of Fire' around the Pacific Ocean.

More than 75% of the world's volcanoes and around 90% of earthquakes occur in and around the basin of the Pacific Ocean. This area is commonly called the Ring of Fire. The reason for all this seismic activity in the Ring of Fire is the presence of converging tectonic plates.

The Ring of Fire can be clearly seen in ResourceWatch's Global Earthquake Hazard Frequency and Distribution map. This interactive map visualizes all earthquake activity around the world, from 1976 to 2002, exceeding 4.5 on the Richter scale. The map shows that there was a lot of seismic activity on both sides of the Pacific Ocean during this period.

The Pacific Ring of Fire can also be clearly seen on John Nelson's Seismic Illumination. This map uses historical earthquake data going back to 1898 to show how earthquake activity can reveal the Earth's tectonic plates. By concentrating on the Pacific Ring of Fire the map is able to show how continental drift causes seismic activity where the Earth's tectonic plates grind beneath each other. 


This converging of tectonic plates can also cause volcanoes. National Geographics' How Volcanoes Threaten Millions is a fascinating exploration of the active volcanoes found around the 25,000-mile-long Ring of Fire. The article includes an animated illustration of how tectonic plates collide and create volcanoes.

The article is illustrated with a beautiful exaggerated relief map of the volcanoes and the population centers that they threaten in Indonesia. None of these volcanoes are actually in the National Geographic list of the top six life threatening volcanoes on the Ring of Fire. This list maps and names the six volcanoes that National Geographic believe are most likely to threaten humans. For each of these volcanoes the magazine gives its last eruption date and the number of people who live within 60 miles of the volcano.

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