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Americans moving to areas with greater seismic hazard

July 17, 2007

The lower map shows the population change from 1990 to 2000 for the lower 48 of the United States. The brown colors are areas of net loss and the purple areas of net gain. The upper map shows seismic hazards. Clearly, people are moving from the central United States, and area of low seismic hazard to other areas (especially in the Colorado Plateau and Basin and Range regions) that have higher seismic hazard. But why? More excitement in their life?

A great mapping website, called the National Atlas (, allows you to make outrageous and spurious claims like this with very little effort. It’s great fun.

For example you could see if there’s a spatial correlation between mudpuppy distribution and number of aggravated assaults. Or, maybe the range of the Greater Bonneted Bat has a relationship with impact crater distribution!

Seriously though….this is pretty dang cool that the feds put this together. They have so many categories of information. And to be able to interactive show them on a map is just fantastic.

Here is just a sampling of what you can map:

  • Agriculture
    • crop type
    • land usage
    • livestock
  • Biology
    • amphibians (that’s what a mudpuppy is, apparently)
    • bat ranges
    • butterflies
    • invasive species
    • ecoregions
  • Climate
    • average precipitation
    • tornadoes
    • sea-surface temperature
  • Environment
    • superfund sites (that one’s a little scary)
    • toxic release inventory
    • water discharge permits
  • People
    • crime
    • unemployment
    • population density
    • median age
    • energy consumption
  • Transportation
    • railways
    • airports
    • interstates

and so on….

Really an incredible resource. Have fun!


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chuck permalink
    July 19, 2007 9:51 pm

    So, why did *you* choose to live and work within 5 km of the big fault?

    -The guy who works in central Australia

  2. Brian permalink
    July 20, 2007 5:34 pm

    excellent question…i have no idea

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