Quake Risk Growing in Eastern US

East Coast may be due for a big one soon, USGS report says

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 18, 2014 3:54 PM CDT

(Newser) – Earthquake Avoidance 101: Just stay away from California, right? Not so fast. An updated US Geological Survey report and accompanying hazard map confirm that the West still holds the worst potential for seismic shake-ups, with major faults and hazards creeping up the entire West Coast, reports the AP. But the USGS data ups the risk factor for quakes in the eastern and central US, citing the "potential for larger and more damaging earthquakes than considered in previous maps and assessments," according to USA Today. Included in this data was research into 2011’s magnitude-5.8 quake in Virginia and the catastrophic 2011 quake-tsunami combo off the coast of Japan, says AP.

Still, "high-risk" states like Alaska, California, Nevada, Utah, Missouri, and Arkansas have only "a 2% chance of experiencing very intense shaking over a 50-year lifespan," says the USGS project chief. Quake-queasy folks seriously determined to hide from the next tremor may want to consider moving to Florida, Wisconsin, North Dakota, or Minnesota—the four states that fell in the "lowest hazard" category. The maps—which help assess risk for insurance companies and building-code purposes—didn’t figure possible fracking-related earthquakes into the mix, which may explain why Oklahoma didn’t break the top 10, notes the BBC.

This undated handout image provided by the US Geological Survey (USGS) shows an updated federal earthquake risk map.
This undated handout image provided by the US Geological Survey (USGS) shows an updated federal earthquake risk map.   (AP Photo/USGS)
This Aug. 23, 2011 file photo shows office workers gathering on the sidewalk in downtown Washington after a 5.9 magnitude tremor shook the nation's capitol.
This Aug. 23, 2011 file photo shows office workers gathering on the sidewalk in downtown Washington after a 5.9 magnitude tremor shook the nation's capitol.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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