Earthquake Monitoring

USGS Earthquakes in Google EarthEarthquakes are happening around the world all the time, we just can’t feel all of them. The US Geological Survey (USGS) is constantly monitoring the Earth with sensitive instruments and for some time now has offered ways of sharing their data on the web through their Earthquake Hazards Program. In addition to RSS feeds, they introduced Google Earth KML network links which allow you to continuously monitor the status of earthquakes around the world. You can zoom in and look at the areas in the detailed satellite or aerial photos of GE. But, since most of the photos in GE are one or more years old, you won’t see evidence of that recent quake.
You have two main options off the USGS Earthquake Hazards page, plus a third option I found for just bigger quakes:

This is real-time data which can help you determine whether that shaking you felt really was a quake. One Google Earth Community member wrote how he experienced the earthquake data first-hand.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. Support KML for monitoring of Earthquakes very good!
    I think, all seismologists need support it new realtime standart. With http support can also stored more additional params of Earthquakes. KML support this in baloons.
    Very good, if also USGS recommend this format to other “Earthquakes” organizations.

  2. Very very cool!!
    Thanks a lot man, love your blog 🙂

  3. Hey – I live in hudson ohio between Akron and Cleveland and the house just shook – enough to have bottles fell off desk – anyone know what happened? My son was on the internet with some other people and they felt it in Akron too (about 15 miles from us.

  4. Hi Elaine,
    There was seismic activity near you according to this USGS earthquake monitoring layer. It says it was 3.2 magnitude. Here is the USGS event record at their web site:

  5. I was wondering if any one could explain to me why i always hear earthquakes coming before the shaking commences (sounds like a very deep slow roar), and why others around me don’t?

  6. Alex Constantopoulos says:

    Does anyone know how I might get a map detailing all the earthquakes that have occurred in the Pacific Basin (“Ring Of Fire”) from August 1st to October 1st, 2007? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated!

  7. 5.6 earthquake in Alum Rock (near San Jose, CA) has me thinking about the 89 quake again. I remember that there were a lot of little quakes leading up to the big one. It also got me thinking about how to find a house on stable ground. Links to resources here:

  8. There have been some major earthquakes activity´s here in Iceland lately this week, now it´s 20/11 ´07
    and there have been constants earthquakes in my town called Selfoss, it´s in south Iceland. We are used to earthquakes and their happening all the time, but we don´t often notice them except when they get a little aggressive, but they never leave any destructions like you see everywhere else in the world and that is because our buildings can withstand them. Iceland is right a bow that giant thing, crack? um.. what u call it in English? I dunno, i think you know what i mean. ^^ Well anyway i was wondering if those earthquake monitors monitor the earthquakes in Iceland? Ive been trying to find it on Google earth but with out any progress 🙁 This site helped me get that monitor thing about Iceland so many thanks mate, very good site and usable. 🙂

  9. I was just able to use this application to pinpoint the epicentre of a quake that we have just had here in the UK. It happened at 1am GMT and measured about 5.2 on the richter scale. I felt the whole of my office shake, it was really bizarre. I remembered seeing this post ages ago so logged on, downloaded the file showing recent tremors and it was there. It’s great when Google Earth is able to interact with real time events and provide such a wealth of info so quickly.

  10. Mr Digby says:
    It has been 13 hours since a quake.
    there are about 5-12 quakes per day on earth.
    We are due, and Alaska should prepare.
    8:12am PST March,05th,2008
    Mr Digby

  11. As a former Californian, earthquakes don’t bother me much. I still keep an eye on them though. The USGS keeps an updated map online. Check out my blog post for more info

  12. I don’t know if anyone else is paying attention but if you go to the usgs website an look at the us map displaying recent earthquakes you will see
    the west coast covered with quakes and a pattern of quakes forming an arrow pointing right at yellowstone. 2 months ago the arrow was not very well defined but it has been filling in day by day. I don’t know why no one is talking about the emplications. if you know anything abour yellowstone and look at that map, it will really get your attention.

  13. Hello
    The global Northern hemisphere temperature changes have great impact to the Earth quake frequency in Southern China area, but also for most of other areas. In periods of 1900-1940, 1940-1970 and 1970-2000 and beyond the frequency is first seen to increase as temperature increases, then decrease between 1940 and 1970 and then again increase when anomaly of late 1900 takes place.
    I have collected more relevant information, please check it:

  14. I appreciate the untiring efforts of USGS.& Google
    Regarding my profile you can visit my website
    I have some comments regarding Earthquake reasearch programs.
    (1)Regarding recording & disseminating the informations is a good thing. but im opinion efforts for finding some links to the causes of Earthquakes are not upto the mark. Recently someone from Brazil has predicted that on 18th July 8.1 Earthquake will hit Phillipines. I donot know if it will be true or not but in my opinion it might be worthwhile observing around those dates & the month of August the changes in behaviour of animals,Planetary Positions, Rock movements, Gas emissions etc.
    As a matter of coincidense a Solar eclipse will occur on 1st August & Lunar Eclipse on August 16. I have observed that the Seismic activity often increases around the Eclipses

  15. Just a small observation. About 40 minutes after the 07.29.08 California earthquake Mumbai/pune felt slight tremors.
    Is there a chance these were connected as their global position is pretty much opposite to each other.

  16. Having seen the rather large amounts of earthquakes occurring today around the Aleutian Islands (more that the odd two or three a week). I counted over 40 since lunchtime. Is anyone else of the opinion that this is the beginning of something really big over there. In 1957 there was an almighty 8.9 there, which caused a huge tsunami which wreaked havoc throughout the pacific and surounding countries. More worryingly, the aleutian islands are the site of the USA nuclear underground testing and there are a lot of theories, which suggest that the movement of tectonic plates and earthquakes there is resulting in huge amounts of underground radition being released into the sea and surrounding area. Look up Amchitka on the web and read the fact for yourselves. Its scarey to think that todays earthquakes in this region could cause this ancient nuclear monster to raise its head from the plates below. Check out a very interesting article:
    Is it feasible that a very large earthquake in the region of 8.9, could result in a radioactive tsunami devastating the pacific area?

  17. Holli Petty says:

    For more information about predicting earthquakes by looking at changes in the electromagnetic field you might want to check out this website: They have stations set up all over California to monitor electromagnetic signals and and study the correlation with earthquakes. The website is really cool it has much more information along with all of the data they have gathered so far.

  18. hey im dong a asinment in school that i have to explain how it feels to be in an earth quake and i have never bin in one so if someone can explain to me how it is i would very appreachate it

  19. Hi All. Google Earth Rocks! But I have a problem and need some help. I have been watching earth quakes with Google Earth for years and love it, but after I upgraded to Google Earth Ver.5, now all the dots of the quakes are large in size and do not reflect the scale of quake. If I put my cursor over the dot, it list the quake info. Because I am looking at an a very active area the large dots overlap and take away from the quick view ability. Can someone help me fix it? Also I have this darn date and time scale that seems to have to be fooled with to see current quakes now. This was not an issue with Google Earth Ver.4 and I would love to have it back to the way it was. Thanks in advance for the help.

  20. Hi, thank you for your help, i am a student doing a blog project on earthquakes at

  21. I am appreciating the effortstaken by USGS.& Google and thanks for sharing data on the web.

  22. I have noticed a bit of a pattern on the Ring of Fire. The quakes seem sort of predictable to me. Interesting to know what is going on here. Could Southern California be next in line for a large quake? I just have the feeling the next week or so will bring another quake in the 5 – 6 range, call me silly but it’s just a not-so-scientific theory I have. I would think the San Andres had to be effected by the Gulf quake. Ah, should have studied harder in school….Anyone else have any ideas on what is going on here?

  23. Nick Roberts says:

    Great work Google Earth and USGS what I was wondering if…does it exist a program that could show in sequence around the world the earthquakes. I will try and make myself a bit clearer. Think of this ; You have a transparent world map with just the country outlines and over a given time period you would see earthquakes throughout the world (say a year) colour coded for their intensity and a verticle bar graph for their depth (which could be multipied to exagerate effect)

  24. Great work Google Earth and USGS what I was wondering if…does it exist a program that could show in sequence around the world the earthquakes. I will try and make myself a bit clearer. Think of this ; You have a transparent world map with just the country outlines and over a given time period you would see earthquakes throughout the world (say a year) colour coded for their intensity and a verticle bar graph for their depth (which could be multipied to exagerate effect)
    Try this program out it is what you are looking for.

  25. I was watching nova, they were showing the dicovery of how they are trying to predict earthquakes. It seems that everyone wants to be the one that can predict when they are going to hit. now if they can look at the bigger picture with out the technolodgy it would help in figuring the problem to their solution.

  26. It’s amazing how bad things have gotten in Japan. Just imagine. Anyone who lives near a fault line should really think about getting some supplies in case of an emergency. There are lots of places like that you can pick up some simple stuff that might just make the difference. Thoughts and prayers to those in Japan.

  27. Due to my fear to earthquakes, I have become addicted to checking information about the latest earthquakes around the world. Below is a cute “free” application that monitors earthquakes that I found on the web

  28. It’s a guessing game as to how much damage drilling and removing oil is causing to the structure of the planet. Pumping oil from beneath the Earth’s surface could bring on more problems then polluting the atmosphere. Drilling oil wells and taking oil out could be the cause of the planet warming. And, pumping oil could cause more devastating Earthquakes. It’s almost inevitable that removing billions upon billions of barrels of oil will have some effect on the planet. To preventing even greater catastrophic conditions… all drilling should be stopped and leave oil where it lays.

  29. A lot of these new weird earthquakes are caused by the new “safe” drilling techniques.

  30. selvican turkdogan says:

    Hello Everyone,

    First of all thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and than I appreciate Google Earth for creating an impeccable tool that is such an efficient experience for us to have in a matter of technology!

    But guys, i have a serious issue to solve that if even one of you either could help me on how to handle this issue or at least give me an idea of what i am concerned about, i would be appreciated more than just pleased.

    So, my question is that as i am plotting the epicenters of earthquakes of my study field on google earth by using KML file extension, i really need to display a color chart of magnitude and depth of the earthquake’s location(epicenter) beyond just plotting them on google earth. When me and my study partner searching for the web and papers, we found some codes for creating that kind of chart, such as JavaScript, Matplotlib, etc., but we couldn’t end up solid outcomes that none of these findings sound reasonable.

    How can we solve this issue, should we make an arrangement on KML file extension through the properties section ( right click on KML address ), such as copying a link of a created file of magnitude/depth color chart and/or really write a specially code for this kind of a study?

    I am really in need of some answers for that matter.

    Thank you so much guys in advance.

    Istanbul Technical University

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