Week 7: Investigating Earthquake Activity

Using GIS to Analyze Earthquake Patterns

What do you see in this image? What questions does it elicit? Less than fifty years ago, these maps were just becoming widely accepted. What evidence was needed for us to understand that large chunks of the surface of the earth move around as single pieces we now call plates? If this concept was only a recent and highly debated discovery, there must not have been obvious surface evidence to support it. What did help us to accept these bounded areas? The answer lies in the seismic technology developed in war time giving us a peaceful dividend. Sensing large energetic events in the crust became an important objective to the U.S. in a post nuclear era. A large network of seismic sensors detected not only nuclear tests around the world but also where even quite small earthquakes were happening. This is the data you will work with in this module. Discover for yourself some of the patterns where earthquakes occur and what it tells us about the Earth's crust.