Maryland Department of Natural Resources

IRIS Educational Materials

 Education & Outreach Series No. 1 
Watch Earthquakes as they Occur

The Seismic Monitor
Click here to view the IRIS Seimic Monitor

[Located at: (Click on the image to initiate display)]

    The Seismic Monitor is an interactive display of global seismicity that allows users to monitor earthquakes in near real-time, view records of ground motion, learn about earthquakes, and visit seismic stations around the world.

Monitor Current Earthquakes
    Red circles mark earthquakes that have occurred within the last 24 hours. The circles fade from red through orange to yellow in two weeks. After two weeks, the circles disappear and the epicenter remains as a black diamond. After 30 days, the black diamond turns into a pink dot. Pink dots remain for five years. The size of the circle is proportional to the magnitude of the earthquake. If you click on an earthquake, information about the earthquake such as geographic location, latitude, longitude, and magnitude, will appear. A button at the top of the window connects you to the IRIS SPYDER system, allowing you to view ground motion from the earthquake recorded at seismic observatories around the world, and to learn more about the earthquake.

Visit Seismic Stations
    Click on an individual seismic observatory (shown by purple colored triangles) and you can visit the station. Click on the photograph to see the station. Below the photograph is such information as latitude and longitude, types of seismometers, and background noise levels.

View Global Topography and Seismicity
    The global display shows the relationship between topography and seismicity. The distribution of seismicity during the past 5 years illustrates how earthquakes define the boundaries of Earth’s tectonic plates. Earth’s shadow illustrates day/night and seasonal changes.

Seismic Alarm
    You will be immediately alerted to important seismic events through the seismic alarm feature. If a significant earthquake occurs within the United States US icon , or if any seismic event is recorded from a known nuclear weapons testing site Nuke icon , the seismic alarm function is triggered.

The IRIS Consortium Logo.

IRIS is a university research consortium dedicated to monitoring the Earth and exploring its interior through the collection and distribution of geophysical data.   IRIS programs contribute to scholarly research, education, earthquake hazard mitigation, and the verification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Support for IRIS comes from the National Science Foundation, other federal agencies, universities, and private foundations.

The seismic monitor was developed by the IRIS Consortium, US Geological Survey, University of Colorado, and Reel Illusions Multimedia, Inc.

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This educational material is reproduced with permission from the IRIS Consortium.

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updated 02/10/14