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Make an Earthquake Map in a Minute

The jolt came while I was sitting at the kitchen counter with my laptop open, catching up on a few loose threads left over from a busy day. Suddenly, I felt a bam. That was followed by another BAM—this one more forceful—as if a large hand had slapped the side of the house. I knew immediately what it was, a sensation familiar to those of us who live in Southern California. It was an earthquake. I knew it was close to my house in Redlands, but where?

I signed in to my ArcGIS Online account, opened Map Viewer, and browsed ArcGIS Living Atlas of the Worldto search for earthquake feeds and layers to make a map to learn where the quake occurred.

Make an Earthquake Map in a Minute

By typing earthquake in the search box, I quickly found the Living Atlas layers I wanted—Recent EarthquakesEarthquake Faults, and Linear Earthquake Faults.

Make an Earthquake Map in a Minute

By clicking Recent Earthquakes, I quickly discovered that the quake, which struck on February 14, 2018, was centered in Mentone, a community just northeast of Redlands. The colored area is the PAGER alert polygon, automatically generated when significant seismic events occur.

Make an Earthquake Map in a Minute

PAGER (stands for Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response) is the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) earthquake site. It is an automated system that takes in seismic data from remote sensors and rapidly estimates earthquake shaking and the scope and impact of earthquakes around the world.

Learn more about PAGER.

Next, I opened the Recent Earthquakes layer and turned on the Events by Magnitude sublayer.

Make an Earthquake Map in a Minute

My map now showed a cluster of earthquakes in Mentone, the two largest of which I felt. The largest one was a magnitude 3.34—just a little nudge but close enough to be felt. (Note: You will be unable to recreate this exact scenario using the Mentone quake that occurred on February 14. Data about small earthquakes is frequently culled from the Recent Earthquakes layer. For example, earthquake events with a magnitude of less than 4.5 are only available in the Recent Quakes layer for seven days.)

Make an Earthquake Map in a Minute

I added other layers from Living Atlas to get some additional context about the nearby faults.

Make an Earthquake Map in a Minute

I discovered that this little cluster of temblors occurred along the Redlands fault, in the Crafton Hills fault zone.

Make an Earthquake Map in a Minute

In just about a minute, I had completed my map of the earthquake. I knew a lot more about the situation than I did when I felt that first jolt, thanks to ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.

To learn more, visit ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.

About

Tech evangelist and product strategist at Esri, focusing on ways to broaden access to geographic information and helping users succeed with the ArcGIS Platform. On a good day I'm making a map, on a great day I'm on one.