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Earthquake Risk

Map No.


This map allows to understand global earthquake intensity in relation to today’s population distribution. The gridded cartogram gives every person on the planet an equal amount of space while highlighting the most densely populated spaces in relation to the earthquake risk (calculated via the intensity of earthquakes recorded since 2150 BC).
The map shows how much of the global earthquake risk is situated in very populated regions leaving many people vulnerable and at risk. Among the largest populations at risk are those who live on the islands in East and South-East Asia, such as Japan and Indonesia. Other more densely populated threatened regions include Italy, Greece, and Turkey in the Mediterranean, or Mexico and California in North and Central America.


Purchase map use license. Includes high-resolution map.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For any commercial use (including in publishing) a map use license needs to be obtained.

Technical Notes

This map shows the land surface resized by its population overlaid with data about earthquake intensity records from a global listing of over 5,700 earthquakes from 2150 BC to the present. Each transformed grid cell in the map is proportional to the total number of people living in that area.

Data sources
This map uses population estimates for the year 2020 based on data from the Gridded Population of the World (GPW), v4 at 0.25 degree resolution, released by SEDAC (Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center). The map overlay is a kernel density estimate using data derived from the Global Significant Earthquake database created by NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center (doi:10.7289/V5TD9V7K). The database “contains information on destructive earthquakes from 2150 B.C. to the present that meet at least one of the following criteria: Moderate damage (approximately $1 million or more), 10 or more deaths, Magnitude 7.5 or greater, Modified Mercalli Intensity X or greater, or the earthquake generated a tsunami“. (accessed March 2018).

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