Map Of World’s Earthquakes Astonishes Geologists

    June 30, 2012
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

The wonders of the natural world are fascinating, frightening, and, in many cases, beautiful, even if the destruction they may cause is not. Nature, like the universe, is often up to things right under our noses that we aren’t even aware of. What we see and feel aren’t always in tandem, but sometimes visualizing the unseen creates beauty.

That was the unexpected result when map maker John Nelson created a timeline of every recorded earthquake since 1898 and lit it up with color according to magnitude. When he was finished, he found he had produced a lovely map of the Earth’s tectonic boundaries and their schedule of shifts; over 200,000.

“First, I was surprised by the sheer amount of earthquakes that have been recorded. 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,” he said.

What’s even more interesting is that this only includes recorded tremors; back at the turn of the century, instruments used to measure earthquakes were much different than the ones used today, and some went without record at all.

Some of the planet’s biggest earthquakes occur near subduction zones, where the Earth’s plates overlap one another. These can be found particularly in the Northwest region near the Pacific Ocean, dubbed the “Ring Of Fire”. Nelson said he couldn’t believe the results when he mapped that area.

“I have a general sense of where it is, and a notion of plate tectonics, but when I first pulled the data in and started painting it in geographically, it was magnificent,” Nelson said. “I was awestruck at how rigid those bands of earthquake activity really are.”

Nelson has also created a timeline which integrates video and tornado mapping over a span of 61 years. The video becomes something of a flip-book, showing lovely, arresting blue lights where twisters were found for each year in the U.S.


  • http://bravo9304 Rod Bravender

    Rush you are so confused.The republicans Made some of these stupid Laws your talking and now half the countrys is in debt or bankrupt. Making deals with phamacudical companys so they can sell there drugs,Same thing with tabacco,and milk and anything they can make money off of.Put thats okay because there republicans they can do anything they wan’t. It allso one thing we can do shut down what where doing and start all over. It 2012 everybody theres people and tecnolegy out there now to fixs whats wrong.But you won’t Lisen. First thing you do stop fighting and dabating. Then you shut the banks down and go back to smaller banks that we can we an eye on. And Then you rebiuld this country from the underground up so you have a solide foundation.The ground under your is burning up and colapsing because of the over Drilling and flooding you don’t fixs that first And eveything will sink in the ground look around you see this all over this country and the world. We can fixs this now and put everbody back to work and it will pay for its self by not have to spend the money to repare the damage that simple. So take the offer from use to fixs your problems or the Earth will do it for you.And that just means more people in hurm way.Rod Bravender The Majestic Lion.ps This is not a joke and if you take it as one it won’t matter what president you pick they can’t fixs it we can.seya

    • daytripper

      Somewhere in your comment are valid points, but your spelling and sentence structure substantially weakens them.

      • Kevin

        Wow, I thought for a minute your comment was making fun of the person who (I think…) was rhetorically ruminating about the use of who vs. whom, not expecting a completely dissected definition of the use of those words, but then I just couldn’t make it through the jumble of half sentences and horrible misspellings, so I just balled it into one sentence. It should read, “I am a Democrat.”

  • some-one-smarter

    When trying to make a point about things are and are not, and debating intelligence or ideology. One should take the time to learn how to spell and use proper punctuation. Your response will never be seriously taken until you relearn the basic writing skills you were taught in the sixth grade. Just a thought…

    • mgc6.1

      some-one-smarter…. perhaps if you are going to school others, you should make sure to check your punctuation first and look for missing words in your own work. Your first sentence is missing “that” and your first period should be a comma.

      Have a nice day,

  • Jen

    As a person who (or is it whom?) is Dyslexic, I have been looking for a map of Earthquakes & how they all seem to work together. Only to be told that one has nothing to do with the other.!?! its was always so obvious…
    So what does this mean for future of ‘predicting’ earthquakes?
    why can’t any comment sections ever have spell check?

    • James

      1. ‘Who’ is the correct word. The subject of a clause takes ‘who’, in the nominative case. ‘Whom’ is in the objective case. Follow this example: “I will choose whomever I like; I will like whoever pleases me.” Notice that the case is determined within the clause, not by the preceding clause. That is, ‘whomever’ is the object of ‘like’, while ‘whoever’ is the subject of ‘pleases’.

      2. I suggest that you treat yourself to the many features of Google Earth, among which there is a layer displaying the recorded earthquakes throughout the world and their strengths on the Richter scale. There is also a similar layer showing the known volcanoes. I think you have been misinformed about earthquakes. Enjoy your study.

  • Mark

    I don’t get it. Geologists are astonished to learn that earthquakes occur right where we know they occur? Nice picture, but is this really a surprise?

  • Lee Stevens

    I have had a hunch that a shoulder fired rocket that can penetrate the wall of a tornado and explode causing either an explosion or an implosion of significant air pressure detonated in the heart of the tornado will cause the funnel to loose shape and become disorganized hence loosing its destructive force. Just as we fire cannon to rid our selves of avalanches I guess the same could be true of the large killer F5 tornadoes .It would take the co operation of the military and science departments to design the rocket with enough speed and ability to precisely detonate.My only concern is that after you did all this research and then deployment that it would be found that the tornado would immediately start to reform.I would think its a least worth a try.My hypothesis is that a tornado exits and magnifies itself in force only because of its funnel shape. and if that can be even momentarily interrupted and the shape disorganized that it will blow out and not be able to reform until the storm has moved some many miles and then in at least 30 percent of the time the funnel cloud will not reform.If they do you could fire some sort of especially designed Patriot missile system to track them to keep blowing them up.

  • http://www.wallpost.net honour

    mid-east, we all already knew that, at least i did

  • Wraith431

    @Rod Bravender, You’re really going to try and drag republicans into this conversation?