Map Reveals World’s Earthquakes Since 1898

Posted on July 5, 2012


If you’ve ever wondered where all the world’s earthquakes occur, IDV Solutions has created a map tracking all recorded earthquake activity from 1898.  It shows each earthquake as a lightning-bug colored light of varying brightness spread across the earthquake epicenters of the earth.  Looking at this earthquake map, it becomes obvious how useful visual tools like maps are when trying to convey important information.  MarketMAPS takes a look at IDV Solutions unique earthquake map. 


The earthquake map shows tremors of magnitude 4.0 or greater since 1898; each is marked in a lightning-bug hue that glows brighter with increasing magnitude. The overall effect is both beautiful and arresting, revealing the silhouettes of Earth’s tectonic boundaries in stark, luminous swarms of color. The map’s maker, John Nelson, the user experience and mapping manager for IDV Solutions, a data visualization company, said the project offered several surprises.

“First, I was surprised by the sheer amount of earthquakes that have been recorded,” Nelson said. “It’s almost like you could walk from Seattle to Wellington [New Zealand] if these things were floating in the ocean, and I wouldn’t have expected that.”

In total, over 200,000 quakes are represented on the map.  One of the most striking features of the map are how clearly defined the earthquake zones are, outlining plate tectonics around the Pacific, and Atlantic oceans.  Since the most prominent earthquake areas appear to be around the Ring of Fire (located in the Pacific Ocean and including countries such asIndonesiaandJapan), Nelson decided to make the map Pacific centered.

There are undoubtedly many earthquakes missing, given the dramatic change in scope and accuracy of seismological instruments from 1898 to the present day. Nelson said he saw a huge jump in the volume of data from the 1960s forward. Yet even without the complete catalog of earthquakes, the map provides a striking visual reference — even though none of the data are new.

All data represented on the map is from the US Geological Survey, showing how a visual method for representing data can reinforce the impact of the information.

Whether you are trying to represent geographic areas in the classroom, or analyzing the demographic makeup of your business’s customer base, visual aids will always be more striking and helpful than raw data.  MarketMAPS has the resources and technology to create the most accurate visual representations of geographic information.  With data from the top providers, we can help you create custom area maps , displaying any location within the US with any level of geographic detail: streets, waterways, postal boundaries, city and county borders…Representing specific demographic data is simplified with MarketMAPS.  We can include demographic shading on your map, allowing you to better visualize not only your customer base’s demographic makeup, but also their geographic locations.  With a variety of finishing options and custom-designed map coverage, MarketMAPS has the map to fit almost every need and application.

Contact MarketMAPS today and discover how our products can help you better represent your data

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Earthquake, map, geology, cartography, history, invention, data, science, world, nature,

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