Every year scientists and students alike come together to show off their finest scientific figures at the annual Research as Art (RaA) event. This event DEMANDS that you dig back into the archives and drag out your most beautiful, amazing, jaw-dropping figures or, at least in my case, the stumbled upon beauty hiding in your closet of routinely generated quality control figures. My submission for this year's competition (I'm fairly certain the event is not a competition but I feel competitive nonetheless) is titled "One Trace, Two Trace, Red Trace, Blue Trace" and is a series of ground motion records from an earthquake in S. California in early 2015 that were recorded on the array of onshore/offshore seismometers in Malawi and Tanzania. Note that this is the same array of stations that I am currently using for the 2nd and 3rd chapters of my thesis (don't you dare ask the question of when will I finish!).
I removed the axes from this image (don't despair fellow scientists! I would never create a figure without axes) in an attempt to add some artistic flair but to make things more clear time is displayed in the horizontal direction (i.e. left is closer in time to the earthquake and right is further away in time from the earthquake) and the vertical direction shows the distance form the earthquake (higher up is further away from the earthquake in distance). The individual colors indicate the different temporary networks that the individual stations belong too.
In my mind this is a beautiful figure not only because of the coherency in the waveforms (i.e. wiggles) across the different stations but also because is this fairly "raw" data - yes some filtering has been done but who doesn't add a good filter or two? These data have been filtered between 10 and 100 s to focus on the well traveled seismic phases. As your eye moves from left to right you can see the different body wave phases traversing the array (i.e. S & SS) and then later (i.e. closer to the right edge) the surface wave phases.
Until next time, keep your figures colorful, your filters handy, your seismic traces clean.