Earthquake Data Visualization

Growing up in California one of the biggest life-changing moments for me was the Loma Prieta 1989 Earthquake. So when thinking about this assignment I wanted to somehow capture the human impact of an earthquake. I did not want to just display data, but connect it to the (sometimes) horrendous nature of these events. 

I thought by incorporating sound of the visualization that would immediately connect the user to the human tragedy. I pulled a soundtrack from a YouTube clip of the footage from that day in 1989. For me that was the starting point for this assignment. 

Data Parsing:

I decided to look only at the California data because I wanted to do a project on my home state. 

I pulled the All_Month data from the USGS ( website and decided to look only at monthly data. 

I pulled the data into Excel to look at it and get a sense for what was going on. I ran some basic analytics on the data and realized that one county accounted for 22% of all earthquakes in the state of CA. 


I then wrote a script in Processing to parse the monthly data by the county "The Geysers" and only looked at "earthquake" data. Note that the full data file includes "explosions" and "quarry blasts". 

Once the data was parsed and I was only looking at "Earthquakes" from "The Geysers", I was able to get started with my visualization. 

I was very interested in using the Latitude and Longitude positions from the data tables. I used a library called Unfolding Maps that allowed me to easily make use of the positions through a function called "Location". 

I also spent some time looking into p5.js but I could not find a map library to use. I think for a future iteration of this type of visualization I would like to experiment with the Google Maps API or another maps library such as Leaflet (

I spent a lot of time having issues with my p5.js code until I realized that some functionality does not work unless you setup a local server. Please see my detailed README file here: