Saturday, August 16, 2014

16 US states at high earthquake risk

[Here is the latest update from the US geological survey. The 16 states are Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Suggests some similarity to the I AM America Map! - Lori]

Updates to the recent US geological survey show that certain areas face a higher threat of earthquakes than previously thought. The magnitude 6.1 earthquake which hit China’s Yunnan province on 3 August 2014 is a reminder of why some governments are keen to better understand earthquake hazard in order to mitigate the risk.

This is the objective of the US Geological Survey (USGS), which released its latest hazard maps for the US in July 2014.

“USGS earthquake science is vital because you can’t plan for earthquakes if you don’t know what you are planning for,” said Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project, in a statement. “Our nation’s population and exposure to large earthquakes has grown tremendously in recent years. The cost of inaction in planning for future earthquakes and other natural disasters can be very high, as demonstrated by several recent damaging events across the globe.”

Earthquake science is constantly evolving as new research improves understanding. In recent years there have been significant earthquake events around the world. Such devastating catastrophes offer scientists the ability to better understand how earthquakes behave.

Geoscientists have recently studied the phenomenon of earthquake “clustering” (where one earthquake triggers another further down a fault line) and the impact of secondary perils, such as tsunami and liquefaction. Much of this insight has informed the latest incarnation of USGS hazard maps.

Earthquakes in Alaska, Mexico and New Zealand have offered insight into more complex ruptures and how faults can link together. This insight was applied to California by USGS.

The magnitude Tohoku earthquake and a M8.2 earthquake off the coast of Chile in 2014 ruptured along subduction zones similar to the Pacific Northwest zone. Read More