World population and earthquake risk mapped

Standing out amongst mash-ups related to the recent terrible events in Japan is this striking cartogram from Benjamin Hennig of the Sasi Research Group, University of Sheffield, England.

People at Risk - Global earthquake density cartogram

The map is a population cartogram – country shapes are distorted so their areas are relative to their population, which has been over-layed with a heat map of seismic activity. Every known destructive earthquake from the past 4,000-odd years is included. Redder areas are those with the more activity.

The result is a powerful visualization highlighting how much of the world’s population is at risk from such events, and where these people live. Highly populated areas around the pacific ring are prominent, as is a line running across Southern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Also notice the hot-spot in the Caribbean.

For more information and detailled maps, including one  of Japan see Benjamin’s website:

Map image is copyright SASI Research Group (University of Sheffield) CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.

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