US national seismic hazard map updated

US national seismic hazard map updated


US: USGS recently updated its US National Seismic Hazard Maps. The new findings reported by USGS state that 42 of the 50 states have a reasonable chance of experiencing damaging ground shaking from an earthquake in 50 years. Scientists have also concluded that 16 states have a relatively high likelihood of experiencing damaging ground shaking. These states have historically experienced earthquakes with a magnitude 6 or greater.

2014 USGS National Seismic Hazard Map, displaying intensity of potential ground shaking from an earthquake in 50 years.

The hazard is especially high along the west coast, intermountain west, and in several active regions of the central and eastern US such as near New Madrid, MO, and near Charleston, SC. The 16 states at highest risk are Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

These maps are part of USGS contributions to the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Programme (NEHRP), which is a congressionally-established partnership of four federal agencies with the purpose of reducing risks to life and property in the U.S. that result from earthquakes. The contributing agencies are the USGS, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Institute of Standards and Technology, and National Science Foundation (NSF). The maps also reflect investments in research by academic and other scientists supported by grants from the USGS and the NSF.

While these overarching conclusions of the national-level hazard are similar to those of the previous maps released in 2008, details and estimates differ for many cities and states. Several areas have been identified as being capable of having the potential for larger and more powerful earthquakes than previously thought due to more data and updated earthquake models.

Source: USGS