More Italian earthquakes and the Google Earth earthquake layer not updating

Italy has again suffered a series of earthquakes, with the largest occurring this past Sunday, October 30th, 2016. The earthquakes were centred just north west of the locations of the August earthquakes. However, if you enable the Google Earth ‘Gallery->Earthquakes’ layer, there is no trace of either of these events. The earthquakes layer has always been restricted to large earthquakes, but the Sunday earthquakes at a preliminary magnitude 6.6s was the largest in Italy in 36 years. We also had a look for the Japanese Kumamoto Earthquake form April and that too is not in the layer, so it would appear the layer has not been updated for some time.

When layers like this are broken, Google should consider either fixing the layer, or, as they did with the weather layers, remove the layer altogethers so as to not cause confusion.

The data for the layer comes from the USGSs which provides KMLs of earthquake data which you can find here. Those KMLs are kept up to date and do show the recent Italian quakes, although a layer called ‘tectonic plates’ that is in the KMLs does not work.


Use the KMLs provided directly by the USGS to find earthquakes in Google Earth and not the built in layer.

Note that if you choose one of the animated KMLs, you must click the play button on the time toolbar in order to see the earthquake markers. You may also want to slightly separate the two sliders a in the time toolbar for the best results.

We have not yet found any imagery for these latest earthquakes available for Google Earth. However, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service does provide imagery in the form of downloadable images of the main affected areas. The images vary in quality and are mostly marked with damage assessments, so it is difficult to see the actual damage in the imagery. In addition, much of the imagery was captured and analysed before Sunday’s earthquake, which was the largest.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.



PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.