75 percent of America at risk of destructive earthquakes in next century: US Geological Survey

US Geological Survey: The USGS map highlights California's heightened vulnerability, indicating a more than 95% chance of experiencing a damaging earthquake in the next 100 years.

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Courtesy: ANI

US Geological Survey: A new map from the US Geological Survey (USGS) is sending shockwaves as it reveals that nearly 75% of the United States is at risk of potentially damaging earthquakes over the next century. While California tops the list with a probability of over 95%, the map underscores a nationwide seismic threat that could impact millions.

California's High Vulnerability

The USGS map highlights California's heightened vulnerability, indicating a more than 95% chance of experiencing a damaging earthquake in the next 100 years. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for seismic preparedness in the region.

National Seismic Hazard Model

Developed by a team of over 50 scientists and engineers, the latest USGS National Seismic Hazard Model utilises advanced seismic studies, historical geological data, and cutting-edge technology. The colour-coded map provides insights into areas at the highest risk of earthquakes, enhancing our understanding of seismic threats.

Increased Risk in Alaska and Eastern US

The updated model reveals that both Alaska and California are likely to experience more intense shaking. Notably, major cities on the East Coast, including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, could face more severe earthquakes than previously anticipated, challenging preconceived notions of seismic activity in the region.

Historical Seismic Activity

The study highlights that 37 US states have witnessed earthquakes exceeding a magnitude of 5 in the past two centuries, underscoring a prolonged history of seismic events across the nation. This comprehensive assessment builds on the 2018 version, incorporating more faults, refined land surface data, and improved computational models.

Significance for Public Safety

Mark Petersen, USGS geophysicist and lead author of the study, describes the updated model as a "significant milestone in improving public safety." Emphasising its crucial role, he notes that the insights derived will guide future architectural and structural design, providing essential information for architects, engineers, and policymakers.

Role in Future Planning

As the US grapples with the unpredictability of earthquakes, the USGS stresses the importance of studying faults and past seismic events. While predicting earthquakes remains challenging, the enhanced model offers a detailed view of earthquake risks, informing future planning, construction practices, and public safety measures.

In a nation where seismic threats are widespread, this comprehensive assessment serves as a call to action for preparedness and resilience against the looming earthquake risks.