Mapping the Japanese Earthquakes

JapanEarthquakesWe’ve all been watching the news from Japan with concern. I’ve personally found the imagery and video footage completely overwhelming, both emotionally and from the perspective of trying to understand exactly what happened. One bit of information that I kept hearing was that aftershocks to the main earthquake event were happening as frequently as several times per hour. I wondered what it would look like to visualize all of the seismic activity in Japan, and of course went online to get the answer.

I went to the Earthquake Hazard Program of the USGS and found a dataset of all seismic events globally that measured over 2.5 on the Richter Scale in the past 7 days, and then imported that dataset into Rhiza Insight.

I then created a map that showed where all of the earthquakes happened near Japan in the past 7 days, with the size and color of the circles representing the values of the seismic events on the Richter Scale. This map is below:

Due to the incredible number of earthquakes that have happened in this region, I decided to strip out the Richter Scale part of the visualization, and just map out the origination points for each earthquake. The result is below:

The sheer number of earthquakes that have been experienced near Japan is incredible. You just have to zoom out on either map above to see the relative lack of seismic activity elsewhere around the planet.

While mapping this disaster won’t necessarily save lives, it does help me to understand one aspect of the crisis.