Fun with USGS Earthquake Data

I have been playing around with mapping data in R using the maps package.


In my exploration of this package I started looking around for some data sets that include latitude and longitude and I landed on the USGS earthquake archive, which allows you to give a range of dates, specify the locations, as well as other search parameters, and will provide you with a nice and tidy data set!  How wonderful.

So the first thing I did was perform a query to get all of the earthquakes in the last six months that had a magnitude of 2 or greater.

I made larger magnitude earthquakes have larger dots, but since the earthquakes are clustered along fault lines, it is a bit hard to see.  I also think the way the map is projected could possibly distort the size of the dots… Something to investigate I suppose.

I was interested in looking at where the really big earthquakes were, so here is a plot of earthquakes with magnitude 6 or larger:

Rplot001 It looks like we are in the clear in Minnesota, and that I probably don’t need to buy earthquake insurance.  But just to be sure I thought I would take a look at the state of Minnesota and see what kind of seismic activity we have going on here:


In totally unsurprising news, Minnesota does not have too much action, earthquake-wise.  But I actually was a little surprised to see any earthquakes show up at all.

Next up I am going to look at weather with data from this amazing website that has temperature, precipitation, wind, and humidity for the whole world (how is that possible?) going back to January 1, 1979!!  That is a treasure trove of data to play with!!

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