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Earthquakes in Google Earth

A few days ago I spoke of the tectonic plates that USGS has prepared for display in a simple kml file of 107 k, and with this we must be acknowledged that Google Earth has changed our lives for what it’s possible seeing with the simple intuition of those who are not experts in the topic.

This earthquakes layer can display information about earthquakes now used by the media to provide less confusing information.

This is the case of Honduras earthquake happened in May 28, 2009, at the north of the Roatan Island; the marked white circle indicates the 100 kilometers around where you expect an earthquake will cause serious harm with an earthquake of less than 7 degrees on the Richter scale.


While this entire fault known as the Motagua fault, that crosses Guatemala and separate Caribbean plates and the U.S. ones is categorized as of torn; on the map, that whole section is sectioned into small segments where the effect of the shock is different. For example, the yellow line is the continental shelf, followed by a section marked in red and then the green line corresponds to the offshore platform. These strike-slip faults are caused by seafloor spreading and in millions of years will results as underwater volcanic mountains, watch how the Bay Islands are a consequence of this phenomenon and are parallel to the fault.

Although Honduras experienced an earthquake of 7.4 (according to USGS), it has not yet quantified 10 dead men after two days because the epicenter was in the ocean platform (10 km deep), if it had been on the continental shelf, would had been serious because the harmful of strike-slip faults is that its epicenter is usually close to the surface. Earthquakes of similar magnitude have left fatal results as in the Nicaragua’s case (6.2 degrees, 5 km deep, 10,000 dead) and El Salvador (7.7 degrees, 39 miles deep, dead 1.259): because there have been in subduction zone and closer to major urban centers.

See that you can also see the replicas occurred yesterday:

  • In the same fault, of 4.8 degrees on the same day
  • Closer to the coast of 4.5 degrees
  • Near Olanchito, about 4.6 degrees, this is on land.

By selecting the epicenter point it can be seen other features such as intensity map, which shows in color where there was more movement on land. It’s a pity that USGS maintains a map with a lag, of about 7.000 meters but if it catches in accurate way it would be seen areas marked in orange fall on the border of the departments of Yoro and Cortes, which incidentally are separated by the Ulua River where the bridge of El Progreso collapsed.


Definitely, the Internet and Google Earth has changed the way people see the world, for that matter, it can already be seen in the Wikipedia section devoted to 2009 earthquakes, although for other purposes we crucify them both.

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