Sunday, February 12, 2012

Video timeline of Arizona earthquakes, 1852-2011

We showed this video yesterday at the AIPG-Arizona Section annual meeting held in the AZGS offices in Tucson, and it got a lot of favorable comments. So, I want to share it with you.

Jordan Matti compiled it using the new Microsoft Layerscape software (we've been working with Microsoft Research for the past 3 years on visualization of scientific data). We used an Excel spreadsheet of historical seismic data compiled by Phil Pearthree, Jeri Young, and Lisa Linville.

The older quakes are culled from historical records, and thus are limited to only those large enough to be felt or caused damage. In the past few decades, locations are from seismometers in the region. And in the past few years, we now have statewide coverage that ensures we are detecting all earthquakes in Arizona larger than magnitude 3 and probably most of the ones larger than 2.5. Thus, in the video, you will see a dramatic increase in activity at the end of the timeline - it's a result of recording the smaller events that we were missing before.

The video is also posted at the AZGS and the Virtual Arizona Experience YouTube channels.


  1. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Amazing...and very interesting to see the earthquake history. Thank you!!!

  2. Anonymous4:26 PM

    Can you show the quakes made by fracking? It would be great to get a map of that kind, complete with the number of quakes, magnitude of quakes, frequency of quakes and gas well location.

  3. There is no hydraulic fracturing going on in Arizona. There has never been any production using hydraulic fracturing in the state, although a few exploratory wells apparently tried the technique to see if they could create production decades ago. None did, and the wells were plugged and abandoned without ever producing.

    Steve Rauzi at AZGS is preparing a fact sheet on hydraulic fracturing to address the many inquiries we receive about the practice. We'll publicize that when it's released.

  4. fabulous work and interesting way to depict what data visualization can do for younger readers and their families. Will post the video with your permission on

  5. Fabulous example of the power of collected data sets and data visualization? May I post the video with some summary info on my information literacy for families blog?

  6. We posted this video on the AZGS YouTube channel at

    You can embed it from there or link to it.

  7. This is a good common sense Blog. Very helpful to one who is just finding the resources about this part. It will certainly help educate me.

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