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Seismicity of the Earth 1900–2018

February 7, 2020

This map illustrates 119 years of global seismicity in the context of global plate tectonics and the Earth’s physiography. Primarily designed for use by earth scientists, engineers, and educators, this map provides a comprehensive overview of strong (magnitude [M] 5.5 and larger) earthquakes since 1900. The map clearly identifies the locations of the “great” earthquakes (M 8.0 and larger) and the aftershock or rupture area (green fill), if known, of the M 8.3 or larger earthquakes. The circular earthquake symbols are scaled to be proportional to the moment magnitude and therefore to the area of faulting, thus providing a better understanding of the relative sizes and distribution of earthquakes in the magnitude range 5.5 to 9.5. Plotting the known rupture or aftershock areas (which are closely related) of the largest earthquakes also provides a better appreciation of the faulting extent of some of the most famous and damaging instrumentally recorded earthquakes in modern history.

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