Dynamic Planet Earth


Earth’s massive shifting tectonic plates are visible in this gorgeous diagram of our planet showing the location, intensity and frequency of earthquakes since 1898. The brighter the fluorescent green, the more seismically active the location. The Pacific plate, smack bang in the centre of this map, certainly prefers its martinis shaken and not stirred, with some of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history originating along its western boundary.

For more mind blowing maps that give you a real perspective on our planet, check out the following post on The Mind Unleashed


Author: Thea Beckman

Canadian born and South African raised, Thea Beckman AKA Wander Woman Thea, is an experienced travel, food, and wine writer and (amateur) photographer with a devastating love of all of the above. She is a travel bug, a bookworm, and mildly alarmed by how many arthropods she can be at once. When she’s not writing for a living and for pleasure, she enjoys bird-watching, reading, drinking wine, cooking, and SHORT walks on the beach because the summer southeasterly winds in Cape Town are a real bitch. Thea is the author of the book “Why? Because Science!” Facebook @WanderWomanThea Instagram @wander_woman_thea

43 thoughts on “Dynamic Planet Earth”

  1. Having lived for many years, directly over the eastern side of the Pacific plate in New Zealand, I beg to differ about your assertion that the western side is more active, and therefore, destructive.
    I would argue that the recent destruction in Indonesia and Japan, thanks to the plate violently shifting, and unleashing massive Tsunami, killing hundreds of thousands as well as releasing radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Power station, when a Tsunami hit, far worse than anything that has happened in both South, Central, and North America.


    1. Erm, Japan, Indonesia and New Zealand ARE on the western periphery of the Pacific Plate… if you’re looking at the picture, the western boundary is to the left and the eastern boundary (bordering on S and N America) is on the right. BRAIN FART!


      1. OK, so I reversed the hemispheres. So what? The point is that the ‘western’ side of the Plate has seen more lives lost than the Eastern side. Surely that’s what really matters here?


      2. So WHAT?? Because of your little muddle up, the statement you made was COMPLETELY incorrect and ironic because you were trying to correct ME on which side of the plate was more seismically active! Don’t you undermine my correction because the poignancy of your point was lost in the stink of your brain fart.


  2. Wow– this is fascinating! I never realized that there’s a seam running right through the center of the Atlantic Ocean, but now that I see it, it seems so obvious! The lines are amazing. Also, I am thrilled to live in a very dark, earthquake-free place!


    1. There are – the blue color just indicates a lower lightning density than other places in the world. Especially over the equatorial regions where all that warm, moist air translates into daily thunderstorms.


      1. We’ve had only the one noticeable earthquake here in Southland in the last decade, fair rattled the cups and saucers it did but no damage.

        However the officials all over the place have shot themselves badly in the foot(s) by calling most of the infrastructure “earthquake-prone” … because being functionally illiterate (and inbred-minded) they don’t know how to say earthquake-risk, or vulnerable, or anyfink like dat.
        I ask: would you be tempted to visit Invercargill if it self-admits that it is “earthquake prone”?

        Dammit, I’ll have to post on this—or am I just a dodo?


      2. Where on Earth is Southland? You’re asking the WRONG girl because I’d definitely be tempted to visit Invercargill to see if maybe I’d FINALLY get to experience an earthquake (given that all it does is rattle a few cups and saucers and not reveal Satan’s bedroom) 😉


      3. According to our politicians we are extremely earthquake prone. At least all our buildings are … methinks they don’t know the difference between ‘vulnerable’ and ‘prone’.

        Southland is the province of which Invercargill (a wee town of 50,000) is the biggest (only) city.

        Earthquakes can be fun, much like being at sea. Only cute little ones, mind you; I have no desire myself to feel ol’ Poseidon’s efforts when he really gets grumpy. Brrrr …


  3. This is the subject of my next book. No really – it’s being published next month by Penguin Random House, and it’s on geoscience… For Kiwis it’s kind of closer to the heart than it is in other places…but the map shows that… 🙂


  4. I really enjoy your funny, insightful comments and information. I am very interested in science and like the fact that you are appealing to the public without dumbing anything down. I recommended your blog on my WordPress blog, Learn More About Science. I look forward to seeing more posts from Why? Because Science.


    1. Aw, thanks so much! I’ve been so terribly busy with work recently (yes, I have a day job) that I just haven’t managed to sit down and write for myself. I’m hoping to get out another blog soon, so watch this space!


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