I Feel the Earth Move....Mapping Recent Alaskan Earthquakes Using ArcGIS Online

Lately I've been wanting to get more experience creating web maps. For those of you who don't know what a web map is, you do know, you just don't know you know. Its a map. On the web. More than that, web maps are often interactive, meaning the user has the ability zoom in and out, pan, and perform inquiries to do things like get directions to a new restaurant, find the nearest hiking trail, or look up their old address on Google Street View....

So I decided to take a massive online open course in geospatial technology and mapping, aka a MOOC, which is not only fun to say, but seriously all the rage right now. There are MOOCs available - for free - on, like, every subject imaginable. Underwater basketweaving? Yep, there's a MOOC for that. This week in my mapping MOOC, my homework was to map earthquakes using ArcGIS Online.

I made a map of recent earthquakes along the southern coast of Alaska. My brother has lived on the Kenai Peninsula, south of Anchorage, for many years, and he told me that just last week they had the strongest earthquake he's felt to date. Using data provided by USGS, I found the big mamma jamma that shook my brother's house. It occurred just west of the Kenai peninsula (southwest of Anchorage) on May 10th, with a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richter scale.

Checking out the map, I was surprised by how many earthquakes there were in the past 30 days. There were over 1200 worldwide, and I only mapped the earthquakes that came in with a magnitude over 2.5. I didn't count Mother Earth's smaller rumbles. So according to my calculations, we had an average of about 40 earthquakes of magnitude over 2.5 per day in the last 30 days.  Dude, earthquakes are scary. Luckily mapping them is not

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