The Rumbling Oceans – Earthquakes Around the Globe

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The Rumbling Oceans – Earthquakes Around the Globe

An example of the earthquake exploration tool focused on the March 11, 2011 Tohoku 9.1 magnitude earthquake of Japan. Colored dots show seismic events around the ‘ring of fire’ prior to 2011.

The global oceans are highly dynamic, hosting some of the largest earthquakes on Earth. We hope that you enjoy this animation showing earthquakes around the “ring of fire” from 1970 through 2011 that was produce by the UW Center for Environmental Visualization.

Please visit our earthquake exploration tool that allows you to discover 100’s of seismic events within the global oceans. The tool is highly interactive, allowing you to choose a 3D global view or a flat view of Earth, and viewing speeds of 1 to 8 times. In addition, the field of view can be changed to explore areas of specific interest with zoom capabilities. A sliding bar allows examination of a particular time period of interest (e.g. The magnitude 9.1 earthquake that struck Tohoku Japan on March 11, 2011).

This effort is in preparation for doing a similar visualization focused on Axial Seamount, the largest submarine volcano off the Oregon and Washington coast. In 2015, a seismic crisis of >8,000 earthquakes in 24 hrs at the summit of the volcano marked the start of a eruption that culminated in a lava flow >400 ft thick. 

The data sets used for this animation include a map centered on the Pacific Ocean that shows the distribution of earthquakes of magnitude ≥6 using the U.S. Geological Survey catalog from 1970 through 2021. The topographic dataset is licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-4.0. The data were formatted to match the JSON format recommended for use of global visualization using the ‘Cesium’ interactive virtual earth viewer promoted within its 3D geospatial visualization for the web toolset. The Cesium JavaScript API was utilized to implement algorithms for procedural color determination based on magnitude and hypocenter point radius animation based on the date-time of the earthquake event.