Monday, July 10, 2017

How To Read the USGS Montana Earthquake Map and Not Go Crazy

[Inverse] The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Lincoln, Montana on Thursday was the area’s strongest in 60 years. The tremors from this quake stretched for hundreds of miles across the state, and residents as far as Washington, Oregon, and parts of Canada reported shaking.
After an earthquake, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) gathers seismic data into an interactive map. These maps often look so crazy and hectic that they may blow earthquake- or volcano-related fears out of proportion, but worry not: It’s just because all the data is layered on top of each other. As the hefty online map manual explains, these data include shakes reported by the public, contour maps, past sites of earthquakes, and shake station locations all in one interactive map.
One layer of the map is called a ‘Do You Feel It’ (DYFI) map, which logs information that people call in. The star above points out the epicenter of the earthquake, and the squares represent the people who reported the earthquake. The colors indicate how strong the shaking was in their area — orange represents very strong vibrations, and the cooler blues and whites signify weak shaking. It’s scary to see squares as far as Edmonton, Canada, but residents from that town reported the shaking as weak with no damages. View the Maps and See More