Friday, July 02, 2021

Exploring 60 Years of Earthquakes

The Seismic Explorer interactive map visualizes 40 years of earthquake activity on Earth, including information on the magnitude, depth, and location of each recorded quake. The map uses data about recent seismic activity from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and data from the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program on historical seismic activity around the world.

On the map individual earthquakes are shown using colored and scaled markers. The colors of the markers represent earthquake depth and the size of the markers indicate the magnitude of the quake.The timeline control below the map allows you to view the seismic activity around the world for any date range. You can also press the play button to view an animation of global earthquakes from 1980 to the present day. 

Seismic Explorer also includes a cross section tool which allows you to view the depth data of earthquakes in a 3D view. You can use this tool to view an area of the globe as a cross-section, providing a three-dimensional view of the earthquake activity in that region. This allows you to view the depths of the earthquakes in that cross-section for any selected date range. 

The Smithsonian's own 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 world's tectonic plates meet each other.

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