Hawaii Earthquake Data in Google Earth

Hawaii Earthquake in Google EarthSince I was traveling last week, I’m a little late putting this up. Adam at GPSVisualizer.com put together a time animation of the seismic readings of the Earthquake in Hawaii plus the aftershocks. The circles are colorized by depth and sized by magnitude. The largest being the 6.6 magnitude earthquake which made the news. Once you’ve loaded this Hawaii Earthquake file with Google Earth 4 (so you can see the time animation – download here if you don’t have 4.0.2091 or greater), you can use the time slider gadget in the top of the screen to see the earthquake and aftershocks unfold.

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. By the way, I should point out that even I was a little surprised at how easy it was to create this map. I just copied and pasted the table on http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsus/Maps/special/Hawaii_eqs.php (the October 15 data has been scrolled off the page by now) and changed the headers to read “xxx [tab] magnitude [tab] time [tab] lat [tab] lon [tab] depth (km) [tab] desc”. That was all it took to make the data GPS Visualizer-ready.
    Then, I used the “data form” (http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/map?form=data) and selected “custom field”: “magnitude” for the resize parameter and “custom field”: “depth (km)” for the colorize parameter. Et voila.
    (In the interest of full disclosure: to create the exact KMZ file that is linked here, I actually pasted the data into Excel so I could create fancier name and description fields; but plotting, colorizing, and resizing the points took no effort.)
    A Google Maps version is here, by the way: http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/maps/hawaii_earthquakes_20061015.html

  2. Thanks for the tips on how to create this Adam. Do the time stamps get turned on by default then?

  3. Timestamps are enabled by default in the “Quantitative data” form, which is the only form that has the options for resizing and colorizing waypoints based on fields in your data. Of course, they can be turned off if need be, by clicking “Show Google Earth options.”
    I figure most data entered into the data form will NOT have time info, so it’s fairly safe to have the timestamps on by default.

  4. This could be a very powerful animation type for earthquake data, kudos to Adam for showing how easy it is. However, I don’t think it works here, there just isn’t enough data. Its a case of ‘just because we can does not mean we should’, you could plot this as a map with symbols to show the depth data and colours to show the time of earthquake and it the ‘story’ would be apparent immediately.
    I did some work on volcanoes on the Big Island, in 3 months I never felt an earthquake, the only one I’ve ever experienced has been in the UK, one of the most seismically quiet areas on Earth!

  5. Well, it’s easy enough, in GPS Visualizer, to take the same data and colorize it by time instead of depth. If you wanted, you could even break the depths down into a couple of different categories and use different customized icons for deep vs. shallow quakes, in which case you’d be plotting 3 dimensions at once! (5 dimensions, really, if you include latitude and longitude.)
    One thing I should note, though: the file I created tells a much better “story” in Google Earth if you set it to “freeze” the beginning of the time interval. That way, the earthquakes appear one after the other and remain on the screen.

  6. david fernandis says:

    It is a great article on earthquake. We get very useful information fron this article. I have never experienced earthquake.

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