IRIS and the USGS introduce...

The Seismic Monitor

The Seismic Monitor is an interactive educational display of global seismicity that enables users to monitor earthquakes in near real-time, view records of ground motion, and visit seismic stations around the world. A "seismic alert" feature signals users of significant earthquakes (larger than magnitude 5.5) within the United States or of any recorded seismic activity near known nuclear weapon's testing sites.

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Monitor Current Earthquakes

Although earthquakes may be associated with destruction in the time frame of human activity; in the evolution of the Earth, they signal the geological forces that build our mountains and create our oceans. In many ways, earthquakes serve as a natural reminder that we are living on the thin outer crust of a planet whose cooling interior is still in motion.

Earthquakes that have occurred within the last 24 hours are shown with red circles. The circles fade through orange to yellow within 15 days. After 30 days, the black dots are replaced by light purple dots that remain on the map for five years. Click on an earthquake to receive detailed information about the event and to view ground motion recorded at seismic stations around the world.

Visit Seismic Stations

Click on an individual seismic observatory (shown by solid purple triangles) to visit the station. Enlarge the photograph by clicking on the image. Below each picture, you will find detailed information about the seismic observatory such as its exact location, altitude, host institution, equipment, and background noise levels.

View Global Topography and Seismicity

The distribution of seismicity over the past 5 years demonstrates how earthquakes define the boundaries of tectonic plates, and the relationship between topography and seismicity. The Earth's shadow illustrates day/night and seasonal changes.

Be Alerted to Seismic Events

You will be immediately warned of important seismic events through the "seismic alert" function. If a significant earthquake (above magnitude 5.5) occurs within the United States, or if any seismic event is recorded near a known nuclear weapons testing site, an alert symbol will appear on the monitor.

Use the Monitor for Teaching

IRIS is in the process of developing educational exercises derived from the seismic monitor. The exercises are being developed for both the high school and undergraduate level. If you are interested in joining IRIS in this project, please contact Ms. Susan Strain at

[Developed by: The IRIS Consortium, US Geological Survey, University of Colorado, and Reel Illusions Inc. (]

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