From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published April 18, 2012 07:31 AM

Earthquake News

On the internet one can find almost anything. In this case knowledge in one place of where, when, and what magnitude of every earthquake in the world. Whether the earthquake is minor or major, earthquake.usgs.gov visitors will see a unique, interactive earthquake map that regularly updates, can be individually tailored, and provides saved settings for future map visits. In 2011, the earthquake website logged almost 48 million unique visitors and nearly 468 million page views.

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An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time. Earthquakes are measured using observations from seismometers. The moment magnitude is the most common scale on which earthquakes larger than approximately 5 are reported for the entire globe. The more numerous earthquakes smaller than magnitude 5 reported by national seismological observatories are measured mostly on the local magnitude scale, also referred to as the Richter scale. These two scales are numerically similar over their range of validity. Magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes are mostly almost imperceptible and magnitude 7 and over potentially cause serious damage over large areas, depending on their depth.

"For all citizens of 'Earthquake Country,' whether they reside in our Nation's Capital or near a major global tectonic plate boundary, the new USGS earthquake webpages supply increased functionality to provide more real-time information tailored to the viewer's specific needs," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. 

From the website, users can access Latest Earthquakes  to zoom into and pan the world map to select different basemaps, as well as overlays such as plate boundaries, faults, and earthquake hazards. Information can be fine-tuned to display earthquakes on the map by time window, magnitude, depth, and maximum recorded intensity.  A list below the map updates for the current map view and settings and is sortable by any data column. Users can also download earthquake lists into other map interfaces like GoogleEarth (KML format) and Excel (CSV).

The event page when an earthquake is selected has also been upgraded and it provides interactive features and more information, including downloadable data files in various formats for each earthquake product, such as ShakeMap, Did You Feel It?, etc. This new event-centric view allows the visitor to see all the information associated with each earthquake without having to jump around the website to view each related product.

A future product in development will utilize the same user interface to search a comprehensive earthquake catalog populated with all existing USGS earthquake data, presenting a seamless view of recorded world-wide earthquakes current and historic.  It is anticipated that this product will be released in beta later this year.

For further information see USGS or Latest Earthquakes

World Earthquakes image via Wikipedia

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