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Visualizing the Power and Frequency of Earthquakes

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Earthquake Magnitude

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Visualizing the Power and Frequency of Earthquakes

The surface of our planet is in a constant state of creation and destruction as the plates of the Earth collide. It is this movement of the Earth’s crust that causes earthquakes, sending tremors throughout the world.

Today’s graphic is inspired by a classic USGS diagram that tracks the scale and frequency of earthquakes.

Shifting Foundations

Earthquakes occur because the crust of the Earth is made up of several plates. The boundaries of these plates create faults that can run into one another.

Earthquakes describe both the mechanism that causes a sudden stress release along plate boundaries and also the ensuing ground shaking.

They occur when stress builds up along a tectonic fault. This stress causes the two surfaces of the fault, which had previously been stuck together due to friction, to suddenly move, or slide, releasing energy in the form of seismic waves.

Measuring an Earthquake’s Impact

There are three factors to assess the impact of Earthquakes – magnitude, energy, and intensity.

Magnitude is a number most commonly associated with the Richter scale, describing the size of an Earthquake on a scale from 0 to 10 – the latter of which is the maximum motion recorded by a seismograph. Each increase by one on the scale represents a tenfold increase in the amplitude. There are over a million tremors around the planet each year, but it’s not until an earthquake reaches a magnitude of 4 that humans can typically feel it.

Another way to measure the size of an earthquake is by how much energy it releases. The amount of energy radiated by an earthquake is a measure of the potential for damage to man-made structures.

An earthquake releases energy at various frequencies, and in order to calculate accurately, you have to include all frequencies of shaking for the entire event. Some research suggests technology could harness this energy for power generation.

Intensity describes the severity of an earthquake with a qualitative evaluation of its effects on the Earth’s surface and on the built environment. An earthquake may have a high magnitude but if a city or landscape experiences little damage, it can be said that the intensity is low. The Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale measures this intensity.

The World’s Largest Earthquakes by Magnitude

Prior to the development and use of seismographs, around 1900, scientists could only estimate magnitudes, based on historical reports of the extent and severity of damage.

DateLocationMagnitude
May 22, 1960Valdivia, Chile9.4-9.6
March 27, 1964Prince William Sound, Alaska9.2
Dec. 26, 2004Indian Ocean, Sumatra, Indonesia9.1
March 11, 2011Pacific Ocean, Tohoku Region, Japan9.1
July 8, 1730Valparaiso, Chile9.1-9.3 (est.)
Nov. 4, 1952Kamchatka, Russia9
Aug. 13, 1868Arica, Chile8.5-9.0 (est.)
January 26, 1700Pacific Coast, Modern Day British Columbia8.7-9.2 (est.)
April 2, 1762Chittagong, Bangladesh8.8 (est.)
Nov. 25, 1833Sumatra Indonesia8.8 (est.)

Earthquakes are a fact of life on Earth and mark distinct moments in history. One would think given our knowledge of earthquakes, that humans would avoid these locations – however, the very faults of the Earth also create its greatest advantages.

Living with Your Faults

It’s extremely common to find human settlements along the fault lines where earthquakes occur most frequently. Some could say that this is because these decisions were made before a complete understanding of science enabled us to know the potential risks involved.

However, a recent scientific study reveals that there may be more to the pattern than previously thought. Tectonically active plates may have produced greater biodiversity, more food, and water for our human predecessors.

Certain landscape features formed by tectonic processes such as cliffs, river gorges, and sedimentary valleys create environments that support access to drinking water, shelter, and an abundant food supply.

This inherent problem reveals that humans are more connected to their environments than previously thought. It comes down to a question of how well humans can adapt their lifestyle and built environments to a dynamic planet.

Now let’s worry about the asteroids

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Misc

10 Ways You Can Build Leadership Communities in a Hybrid World of Work

Feeling disconnected? This infographic teaches you how to build strong leadership communities in your organization in a hybrid working world.

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The world has never been more connected. Yet many of us feel more disconnected than ever before.

In particular, CEOs and managers can often feel isolated from their peers, and therefore crave a greater sense of community and belonging. This lack of social connection can have a detrimental impact on both them and their team—putting the future of their company at risk.

Leading in a Hybrid World of Work

This infographic from bestselling author Vince Molinaro dives into the ways you can build a strong community of leaders in your organization, enabling you to more successfully execute on strategy, drive growth, and deliver results.

leadership

>>Download Dr.Vince Molinaro’s Community Builder Ebook Today

The Critical Need for Leadership Communities

In today’s world, many leaders have been conditioned to work and lead in a way that is individualistic and hyper-competitive, which leads to problematic outcomes including:

  • Limiting innovative ideas
  • Causing overwhelm and stress
  • Limiting diversity and a sense of inclusion
  • Promoting a macho culture
  • Creating heroes and zeros in organizations

This outdated model breeds a weak leadership culture. Even though leadership expectations are higher than ever, very few companies boast a strong leadership culture. In fact, just 15% of companies have the culture they need to succeed.

What does a weak leadership look like?

Weak Leadership Cultures

When leaders demonstrate the following behaviors, organizations are at risk of developing a weak leadership culture:

  1. They lack clarity around strategic priorities.
  2. They fail to inspire the people they lead.
  3. They tolerate ineffective and mediocre leadership.
  4. They demonstrate animosity for the success of other leads, teams, and departments.
  5. They work at cross-purposes with each other.
  6. They prop themselves up while downplaying the contribution of others.
  7. They don’t engage stakeholders.
  8. They regularly badmouth others and throw colleagues under the bus.
  9. They withhold information as a way to retain power over their peers.
  10. They act as bystanders when colleagues need help.

When these negative dynamics become apparent, organizations pay a significant price. According to a report from Qualtrics, 40% of managers see a decline in their mental health, while another study shows that 66% of leaders have checked out entirely.

It is clear that building a strong community of leaders has become critical as the world continues to become even more complex and uncertain. Let’s dive into some of the ways you can build a greater sense of belonging in your organization today.

The Characteristics of Leadership Communities

Here are the 10 characteristics and behaviors that promote a strong community of leaders. Does this describe your organization’s leadership culture?

CharacteristicAligned Behavior
1. Have clarity on the strategic direction of the organizationBe determined to deliver on the most important strategic outcomes for the company
2. Create excitement about the futureSpread optimism about the company, even through adversity
3. Share a common aspiration to be great as leadersCommit to their roles as leaders and help other leaders thrive
4. Lead with a united front and a one-company mindsetLead in the best interest of the whole organization
5. Hold each other accountable by calling out unproductive leadership behaviorDemonstrate the courage to call out misaligned and unacceptable behaviors
6. Celebrate success and key milestonesIgnite passion by recognizing others and showing progress towards goals
7. Break down silos and collaborate effectivelyIdentify accountability gaps that weaken the leadership culture
8. Keep internal politics and personal agendas to a minimumBehave in a direct and transparent manner with peers
9. Demonstrate resilience and resolve in the face of adversityTurn to each other while navigating tough challenges
10. Support one another and have each other’s backsBuild high-trust relationships with one another

Most leaders want to be in an environment where there is real clarity, alignment, commitment, and mutual support—it just takes one accountable leader to make it happen.

The Benefits to Creating a Strong Community of Leaders

If done right, the effects of building a strong community of leaders can be extraordinary:

  • Promotes a stronger sense of belonging.
  • Allows for greater knowledge sharing.
  • Encourages higher levels of performance.
  • Creates a culture of accountability.
  • Improves employee engagement.

Moreover, research shows that employee engagement is directly linked to a company’s culture and value system. In fact, employee engagement levels can reach up to 72% when managers work well with each other.

With the working world transforming before our very eyes, it’s time to establish a new leadership contract so that CEOs and managers can lead their organizations successfully into the future.

Do you have what it takes to be a community builder? Download your Ebook to discover practical strategies you can apply today.

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Misc

Animated Map: Visualizing Earth’s Seasons

This map visualizes Earth’s seasons, showing how our planet’s Arctic sea ice and vegetation changes throughout the year.

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Animated Map: Visualizing Earth’s Seasons

Why does Earth have seasons?

Many people think the seasons are dictated by Earth’s proximity to the Sun, but this isn’t the case. It’s the Earth’s tilt, not its closeness to the Sun, that influences our seasons.

This animated map by Eleanor Lutz visualizes Earth’s seasons, showing how the temperature changes impact ice levels in the Arctic as well as vegetation more broadly. It also highlights the cloud cover and sunlight each hemisphere receives throughout the year, with each frame in the animation representing a month of time.

Why is Earth Tilted?

Unlike some of the planets that sit completely upright and rotate perpendicularly, Earth rotates on a 23.5-degree axis.

But why? A commonly accepted theory among the scientific community is the giant impact hypothesis. According to this theory, a celestial object called Theia collided with Earth many years ago, when the planet was still forming. This collision not only knocked Earth into its tilted position—some believe that the dust and debris from this impact ended up forming our moon.

Ever since, our planet has been rotating with a slight tilt (which itself is not fixed, as it “wobbles” in cycles), giving us our varying seasons throughout the year.

How Earth’s Tilt Influences our Seasons

As our planet orbits the Sun, it’s always leaning in the same direction. Because of its tilt, the different hemispheres receive varying amounts of sunlight at different times of the year.

In December, Earth is technically closer to the Sun than it is in June or July. However, because the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun during December, that part of the planet experiences winter during that time.

Earth's Seasonal Climates

The graphic above by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) visualizes Earth’s orbit throughout the year, showing when each hemisphere receives the most direct sunlight (and thus, experiences summer).

The Climate Change Impact

While our seasons have always varied, it’s worth noting that climate change has impacted our seasons, and changed how much Arctic ice we lose each summer.

In the past, millions of miles of ice remained frozen throughout the summer months. In the 1980s, there were 3.8 million square miles of ice in July—that’s roughly the same size as Australia.

Over the years, Arctic ice cover has steadily declined. In July 2020, the ice cover was only 2.8 million square miles—a million less than the amount four decades ago.

Some scientists are predicting that we could lose our summer sea ice entirely by 2035, which would have a devastating impact on the Artic’s wildlife and the indigenous people who live there.

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