13:58 22 February 2011
Michael Reilly, senior technology editor
ChristChurchQuakemap.jpg(Image: Whereis/Sensis PTY/TerraMetrics/Google)
The people of Christchurch are reeling after a devastating earthquake struck earlier today, the second powerful temblor to hit the city in the last five months. The internet and a global, up-to-the-minute news cycle allow us to wade through death tolls, images of city blocks in ruin, even live missing persons reports. Still, for those of us who live outside of earthquakes prone areas, can we know what it's like to live in an area alive with seismic activity?
Paul Nicholls of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch wants to show us. Following the magnitude 7.1 quake in September, he set up Christchurch Quake Map, a new visualisation that brings home just how seismically restless his home city is.
The website combines Google Maps with data from GeoNet, New Zealand's government-backed service for monitoring earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and other natural hazards.
The end product is something like a seismic fireworks display - a time-lapse of the nearly 49,000 earthquakes that have struck the region since 4 September. Running through the whole data set is a bit overwhelming, but zooming in on the last 24 hours paints a powerful picture of what it means to live through a big quake and its many, many aftershocks.
One Per Cent: Christchurch's seismic fireworks, seen on Google Maps
Check it out on The MasterTech Blog