The Herald Sun (AU) – Amazing map shows a century of earthquakes mapped at a glance - Charts century’s worth of big earthquakes: 203,186 in total - Includes last year’s 9.0 magnitude Japan earthquake - If historical epicenters were inflatable lilos, you could walk from Santiago to Christchurch (link)
Amazing visualisation: showing earthquakes since 1898, by magnitude, the map pinpoints the Ring of Fire in vivid green. The 9.5 magnitude 1960 quake in Valdivia, Chile, is the biggest on record. Graphic: John Nelson. Source: Supplied
Charts century's worth of big earthquakes: 203,186 in total
Includes last year's 9.0 magnitude Japan earthquake
If historical epicenters were inflatable lilos, you could walk from Santiago to Christchurch
AN AMAZING map plotting every earthquake of magnitude 4.0 or above in more than a century dramatically visualises the Ring of Fire and other quake hotspots.
In vibrant fluoro green, the map pinpoints the dynamic contact points where continental tectonic plates grind underneath each other, raising mountain ranges and causing the biggest earthquakes on the planet.
Fiery neighbours: Australia is seismically quiet compared to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Our biggest recorded earthquake was a 7.2 magnitude tremble at Meeberrie in 1941, that caused severe shaking at its epicentre, and minor damage in Perth, 500km away.
Also clearly visible are the spots where mid-ocean plates are moving away from each other, particularly in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
According to the map, Australia is one of the most geologically stable countries on Earth.
In June, a magnitude 5.4 earthquake in Victoria's Latrobe Valley shook homes, cracked windows and walls, and threw residents from their chairs. No one was seriously injured.
Priceline Pharmacy in Moe after a 5.4 magnitude earthquake in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, June 2012.
Source: Herald Sun
The map was created by designer John Nelson of IDVSolutions, a US software company that visualises data.
It merges data from America's Advanced National Seismic System and the United States Geological Survey with a map of the world centred on the Pacific Ocean.
Waiting for The Big One: San Francisco and Los Angeles sit on California's San Andreas fault, the tectonic boundary between the Pacific and North American plates. The 7.9 magnitude 1906 quake killed more than 3000 people in San Francisco. A 9.2 earthquake and resulting tsunami in Alaska in 1964 killed 143. Central America is one of the most seismologically active regions on Earth.
"The result looks an awful lot like a fleet of Nickelodeon tankers spilled the world's supply of floam," said Nelson.
"If historical epicenters were floaties, you could walk from Seattle to Wellington."
Destroyed: historic Christchurch Cathedral in ruins after an earthquake devastated New Zealand's second largest city in February 2011. Much of the downtown area was destroyed following the 6.3 quake, which killed 185 people as it flattened office blocks, buckled roads and brought historic buidings crashing down.
Magnitude 4.0 or greater earthquakes are big enough to rattle buildings and break windows.
Danger zone: the map reveals that Japan is one of the most seismically active spots on Earth. 2011's Thoku 9.0 magnitude earthquake caused an estimated $122 billion property damage. The quake and resulting tsunami killed approximately 16,000.
In March 2011, a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan, causing a huge tsunami than killed an estimated 15,800 people. It was the biggest quake recorded.
Earthquake aftermath: a Japanese girl searches through the debris as a ship sits atop a building after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which devastated the country's east coast. (AP Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun, Yasuhiro Takami)
The map is a follow-up to an earlier project showing 50 years of tornado tracks across the United States.
Tornado tracks: illustrates tornado tracks across the USA from 1950-2011. Graphic: John Nelson
Nelson points out that agencies only started properly recording "hard core" earthquakes in the 1960s.
There are 203,186 earthquakes marked on the map in total.
Quake zones: the map reveals that Indonesia and Japan are earthquake epicentres. 2004's 9.3 magnitude Sumatra earthquake was the third biggest on record, and the quake and subsequent tsunami killed 230,000 people.
Floam is a reusable moulding compound for children made from polystyrene beads.