Live Earthquake Mashup

The Live Earthquake Mashup enables you to view live earthquake data from several sources. The events are shown simultaneously on a timeline (using the Timeline widget from project Simile) and a map (provided by Google Maps). You may switch between these data sources:

USGS 2.5+, USGS 5+
The United States Geological Survey offers several data feeds, these two show events of the last seven days, either of magnitude 2.5 and stronger, or magnitude 5.0 and stronger, respectively. The data covers big earthquakes worldwide, but emphasises US territory (mainly Alaska, Puerto Rico and California) for weaker events.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre distributes data on earthquakes of the last 24 hours. Again, big events from around the world are shown, with smaller events from across Europe, especially the Mediterranean Sea (Greece, Aegean Sea and Turkey).
The GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam provides data for earthquakes of the last 24 to 48 hours, mainly strong ones from all over the world.

The selected data feed is reloaded every five minutes, the countdown shows the remaining time.

You may move the timeline and the map as you like. If you click on a marker in either of the two, an info window will open with detailed information on the event, and a link to more information on the website of the feed provider.

If the feed is reloaded after five minutes, the timeline and the map are moved, so that the most recent earthquake is shown in the center of the screen. If you uncheck the "follow" box, the timeline and the map stay where they are. This allows you, for example, to compare the data provided by the different institutions for a certain area.

A Personal Note

I am always happy when people note my mashup, talk about it and link to it from their blogs, from chat rooms, or on twitter. But I'd like to comment on two things I noticed:

  1. People think that there are more earthquakes in some regions than in others. That is technically true. But the mashup is a bad indicator, exactly where how many and how severe earthquakes happen. The data is heavily biased, depending on whose data you are looking at. The data from the USGS is (quite understandably) more US centric than the other feeds. And US means places like Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Samoa. One important factor why more earthquakes are shown in these regions than in others is simply the fact that the USGS operates more sensors in these regions, not that they are more prone to earthquakes.
  2. More often than not people cite my mashup in dicussion to show, that the number of earthquakes has increased in recent years. I am very sure, that this is just not the case. What has increased in recent years are two things: The number of people, period. So when an earthquake hits, more people are affected by it. And the media coverage has increased dramatically, with live reports from every corner of the world now being possible. Plus applications like mine allow people to see events "as they happen". I am sure there were as many earthquakes a hundred years ago, but they were not noticed by so many people as they are nowadays.