Earthquakes Since 1990


Eliot Feibush, Darren Schachter, Kevin Yan, Chris Yin

Project Summary

Earthquakes are clustered along fault lines. Showing the quantity and magnitude of earthquakes cumulatively over time is a challenge due to visual overlap.  There are over 234,000 earthquakes in the database. There is not enough screen resolution to show every earthquake distinctly. Drawing the symbols sequentially would obscure the oldest earthquakes and show only the most recently drawn. Drawing in 3D provides an additional dimension for showing the quantity and magnitude of geo-located data.

View all of the earthquake images produced for this project.

*Published in 2019 CASC Brochure*

The Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC) has over 90 member institutions, including Princeton University.  CASC provides a forum for best practice computing and data services to advance academic research. They recognize that visualization plays a key role in exploring, verifying, and communicating the large amount of data generated by computer simulations. 

CASC publishes an annual brochure of images produced by its members. This visualization was selected for the 2019 CASC brochure and can be found on page 17.

Technology/Software Used

We developed Python programs to select and analyse the earthquake records in the US Geological Survey earthquake catalog.  We binned the data onto a geographic grid, wrote files (Visualization Toolkit format), and displayed the data in ParaView.  The terrain imagery is from the NASA Visible Earth, Blue Marble collection. We have combined it with bathymetry (ocean depth) data from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.