How to Get Google Earthquake Fault Zone Maps

By Julius Vandersteen

Learn about where earthquake fault zones are located with Google Earth.
i Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images

After an earthquake strikes and the shaking has subsided, it’s natural to want to get more details about the locations of fault zones before the next quake. Google earthquake fault zone maps, which are files saved with a “KMZ” extension, contain data that will display in Google Earth to show you where a particular fault appears. Google earthquake fault zone maps are only available for the United States and use data from the U.S. Geological Survey. You can see historic earthquake faults dating back 150 years, as well as more ancient earthquake fault data, including the Holocene to the latest Pleistocene era (younger than 15,000 years) and the Quaternary (younger than 1,600,000 years).

Step 1

Navigate to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Google Earth/KML Files page (see Resources).

Step 2

Click “Quaternary Faults & Folds in the U.S.”

Step 3

Click the name of the fault zone map you want to download. A dialog box appears.

Step 4

Click “Save” to save the Google KML earthquake fault zone map to your computer.