It may not be the kind of thing you want to watch just before going to bed—especially if you live on a major fault line—but these stunning videos really bring home just how volatile and violent things are below the Earth’s surface.
YouTube user StoryMonoroch has created two stunning visualization maps—one for Japan and one for the world—showing all of the quakes which took place throughout 2011 registering between magnitude 3 and 9 on the Richter scale, and whose epicenter was at a depth of between 0km and 700km (435 miles).
Now it’s true that many of the quakes shown will not have been detected by people on the ground, especially the tremors lower down the scale and hundreds of kilometers below ground, but many will have been felt, rattling crockery and nerves in equal measure.
StoryMonoroch most likely singled out Japan for two main reasons. Firstly, it’s the world’s most quake-prone country, with four tectonic plates—the Eurasian, the Pacific, the North American and the Philippine—meeting pretty much right beneath the Pacific nation.
Secondly, the news won’t have escaped you that there was a massive magnitude-9 quake in the country last March, an event which resulted in a devastating tsunami, thousands of deaths and the virtual destruction of a nuclear power station. It’s this megathrust quake, as well as its aftermath, which forms the chilling part of StoryMonoroch’s video.
Below are the two videos, beginning with the Japan visualization map. If you’re the impatient type, push the Japan sequence on to the 1:35 mark, which is just prior to where things really get busy. The size of the circle correlates with its Richter scale measurement.