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Friday Eye Candy: Watch as the Earth 'Breathes'
"Pretend that you're an alien in a spacecraft above Earth. You are looking down and watching the pulse of planet Earth. The breath, the respiration," says Elizabeth Cottrell, as quoted in an article by Sarah Kaplan.
Cottrell is a research geologist who directs the Global Volcanism Program at the National Museum of Natural History. She's describing the action of a new visualization of the planet's eruptions, earthquakes, and gas emissions. As she rotates the globe with a click of her mouse, blue dots signifying tremors and red triangles for volcanoes flare up and fade away, carving the planet's surface in predictable patterns. The animation emits a 'ping"'with each earthshaking event," writes Kaplan to explain the visualization.
The article provides additional discussion of why the visualization could be considered "cool" or "fascinating" rather than terrifying (especially for those of us living in California).