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
Quake Risk Growing in Eastern US
This undated handout image provided by the US Geological Survey (USGS) shows an updated federal earthquake risk map.   (AP Photo/USGS)

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. (More earthquake stories.)

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