USGS Updates Earthquake Hazard Maps

Posted on: August 7th, 2014 by Jessica Unger | SHEP

The U.S. Geological Survey released their updated National Seismic Hazard Maps, showing 42 of the lower 48 states have a reasonable chance of facing damage from ground shaking in the next 50 years. Last updated 6 years ago, these new maps were developed with new ground motion models and compare changes between the 2008 maps and the 2014 ones.

The highest risk is on the west coast, intermountain west, and several clusters in the central and eastern United States. That really hasn’t changed since the 2008 map; instead, the potential severity and strength of earthquakes was upgraded for those areas based on new data. For example, risk was upgraded in the eastern United States and the New Madrid Zone based in part on recent earthquakes there.

The Pacific Northwest’s risk was upgraded due to similarities between its seismic hazards and those of Japan and Chile, both of which experienced very strong earthquakes in the past several years. New faults recently discovered in parts of California lead to increased hazard estimates there.

The report is essential for anyone involved in risk analysis, earthquake resistant construction and engineering, building codes, or emergency preparedness planning.

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  1. […] Many resources are available to help you plan your participation and share valuable information about what to do in the event of an earthquake. If you choose to lead a drill, the Great ShakeOut provides manuals and tips for many different scenarios. If you are looking for information to share on what to do during and before an earthquake, FEMA has created a short video, “When The Earth Shakes,” which provides key information in an accessible format. For more information, see previous posts about earthquake preparedness and mitigation, and increase your knowledge about the risk of earthquakes in your region. […]

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