Compared to the rest of the world, Australia is quite fortunate when it comes to earthquakes. The worst we’ve had recently was Melbourne’s rumble a few weeks back — a joke really, when you consider the suffering countries like Japan and New Zealand experienced in 2011. The image above, which plots earthquakes of magnitudes 4.0 or greater from 1898 onwards, shows just how active our planet is, especially near the aforementioned hot spots.
The map was created by John Nelson, an employee of visualisation specialists IDV Solutions. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Nelson previously compiled a similar map showing the 56-year history of tornadoes in the US.
As expected, there’s plenty going on along the edges of the tectonic plates and as such, are the most brightly coloured. In Australia, only a few glowing green blobs are visible — mostly, we’re just peppered with soft blue speckles — events of minor note. Japan is entirely obscured by a densely-packed spray of lime and cyan while NZ is cut in half by line of lights just as vibrant.
According to Our Amazing Planet, the map’s data is valid up until 2003, but the 105-year period it covers includes 203,186 earthquakes — more than enough to paint a gorgeous, if unsettling picture of Earth’s unstable nature, as imperceptible as it is in our day-to-day lives.
Image: John Nelson