New Earthquake Map Increases Risk for One-third of U.S

A new federal earthquake map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about one-third of the United States and lowers it for one-tenth. The U.S. Geological Survey has updated its national seismic hazard map for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor. The maps are used for building codes and insurance purposes, and they calculate just how much shaking an area probably will have in the biggest quake likely over a building’s lifetime. Parts of Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, and South Carolina have the highest risk for earthquakes, according to the new hazard maps. The maps move Colorado and Oklahoma up to the second of the seven hazard classifications and show increased risk in some parts of the two states. Southern Alaska, the big island of Hawaii, the Missouri-Tennessee-Arkansas-Illinois New Madrid fault area, and Charleston round out the biggest hazard areas.

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