Six months of seismic activity in under a minute

By Chris McDowall 08/09/2010 7

I created a video to animate six months of 2010 New Zealand seismic activity data picked up by the GeoNet sensors. The animation begins in April and ends a few days after the 7.1 quake that hit Christchurch on September 4. Keep in mind three things when you view the video.

  • Blue circles represent seismic activity recordings.
  • Each event leaves behind a small, pale red dot to show the overall pattern.
  • Most events are either small, deep or both.

Note how sparse the pattern of spots across Canterbury is until early September.

[vimeo width=”690″ height=”707″][/vimeo]

The data comes from the excellent folks at the New Zealand Geonet project. You can download the data as a spreadsheet from

I created the individual animation frames using Python and matplotlib. I stitched the images together with FFmpeg. I acknowledge the New Zealand GeoNet project and its sponsors EQC, GNS Science and LINZ for providing the data.

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