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The graph you are currently viewing (that is hidden by this help information) is showing
the average magnitude of earthquakes that ocurred in each year.
Instead of just displaying the points normally on the graph, what you see below is
a 'smoothed' graph. This means that we have tried to place the points on the graph
into a smooth curve. This shows us the overall trend of earthquakes over time. If
earthquakes have increased for several years in a row, the line will start to curve
upwards. If earthquakes have decreased for several years in a row, the line will start
to curve downwards.
You can experiment with other ways of viewing this earthquake information by clicking on
the four different menu options to the left and top of the graph.
Quake Strength - You can use this option to limit the view to only the more significant
earthquakes, or to include even the smallest earthquakes in the graph.
Data to Graph - Change this to show different types of information. You can
experiment with this setting and then use the help button again to see an explanation
of each of the available options.
Graph by - Use this menu to see the summary of earthquakes by year or by month.
Graph Style - This menu item allows you to see either the raw information (first option),
earthquakes, or to choose between two different ways of examining the trend over time.