March 20, 2011

New York Times Visualization of the Japanese Earthquake Fault Plane

Visualization of the magnitude of the quake

Shortly after the devastating Japanese earthquake on March 18 2011, the New York Times published an excellent series of visualizations showing the quake's fault plane, magnitude and the predicted tsunami spreading across the Pacific Ocean.

What I found particularly enlightening was the depiction of the fault plane.  I'd previously thought of earthquakes as emanating from a point source - the word epicentre reinforces this notion.  In fact, the earthquake arose from a section of the North American plate, several hundred miles in length, being thrust upwards by the movement of the Pacific plate beneath it.  The epicentre is the focus of the earthquake at which the force is greatest.

Kudos to the New York Times for their enlightening graphics.