Feature Webs: IRIS Seismic Monitor & IRIS Earthquake Browser

The IRIS Earthquake Browser represents a stunning step forward in software in the cloud.

Let me start however at the beginning with the revamped IRIS Seismic Monitor. Move your cursor around the map and the information in the boxes below the map, and the tool tip, changes accordingly. This web tool is in many ways itself a leap in interactive web display of earthquakes.

seismon(Click the Image for a slightly larger/clearer version)

Looking at that earthquake in Chile, and clicking on the big red circle for it you get this which comes up in a separate screen:


Click in the big red circle again on the second map and you will get a list of earthquakes which looks like this:

seismon03(Click the Image for a slightly larger/clearer version)

Alternatively you can click the button to get the last 30 days of earthquakes without the 10 degree constraint.

Going along the buttons below the map the earthquake headlines initiates a Google search


Special events give you:


Plate tectonics and Education links similarly give you more information and a world of things to browse.

No I have not forgotten the 30 day listing! In the same manner that clicking on the Chile map gave you a list of earthquakes, the IRIS Seismic Monitor also provides a list of events as a supplement to the interactive world map. Some may prefer this style of information so let us take a look.

seismon06Click on this list and you will get a page of earthquakes for the last 30 days Magnitude 4 and above (The link is to the full page rather than the popup you get clicking the button).

OK you say, what is so special about that? Look at the image and note that the ‘location’ field is a link.

seismon07(Click the Image for a slightly larger/clearer version)

If you hover your mouse over the heading ‘LOCATION’ you see this tool tip:


That is an understatement to say the least. I clicked on the Chile earthquake just a little further down that list which is the one I used above to show the 10 degree listing. This link will take you to where the link on the pages goes. What is revealed on clicking the link is this.

ieb01(Click the Image for a slightly larger/clearer version)

It’s just a map? No, it is not just a map. Sure this shows 10 events but look at the right hand side. This web tool is, well i have to say it, positively orgasmic to the earthquake nerd. Sad creatures like me positively drool over this stuff.

You can change the number of events, the time the magnitude and the depth ranges. Let’s look at that with 1500 events:


Great stuff but you are in the IRIS Earthquake Browser now and there is more……..

Deselect that area and draw a new one around it extending on to the land a bit more:


I am going to extend that region even more by zooming out a bit and redrawing to to get some more land in further up the coast. The reason will become apparent.

ieb04(Click the Image for a slightly larger/clearer version)

Now, with a view like that displayed, locate the 3D button over on the right and um click….and be prepared to be amazed!


Now you are in the 3D viewer. Cool as cucumber and relegating sliced bread as the best thing this viewer is just positively yummy!

ieb3dv01(Click the Image for a slightly larger/clearer version)

Not impressed? Take a look at the menus. Click on View.


Change the “View > Look” to “North”.


What you are seeing is the Wadati-Benioff Zone (WBZ) also known as a ‘subduction zone’. Place your cursor in the centre of the cardinal points of the compass and drag down a little, then go to ….


If you add more earthquakes, say 3000, and go to the view > scale > smaller (click it twice) and refine the area a bit you get this looking North:

(Click the Image to see this in the IRIS 3d Viewer)

If you have not spotted the social networking links on the side, you will still have noted from this text that you can share what you are looking at with your friends simply by emailing a link or posting it on line.

This combination of IRIS Seismic Monitor and IRIS Earthquake Browser is truly the best tool of this kind on the web today. It is new and will surely develop. Watch this space!

Edit to add: If you have Windows XP or later you can use the IRIS Earthquake Browser URL Builder that I wrote to complement the web site. This allows you to make accurate selection boxes.

About PuterMan

A retired programmer.
This entry was posted in IRIS Earthquake Browser, IRIS Seismic Monitor and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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