Nearly every state in the country could experience ground-shaking in the next 50 years, according to a new forecast by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
In addition, 42 states have the potential to suffer earthquake damage in the next half-century, according to USGS’ updated U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps — a forecast of where, how often and how severe quakes may occur.
Sixteen states that historically have experienced earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater are at high risk of damage from quakes — Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
The updated forecast also identifies the potential for larger earthquakes in the East Coast, and an increased range for potential magnitudes and locations in the central U.S. States and on the West Coast.
Several major earthquakes in recent years have provided scientists with insights for future ground shaking. Virginia’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in 2011 led scientists to believe larger quakes are possible along the East Coast.
Likewise, the magnitude 7.9 quake in Wenchuan, China, in 2008 led many to believe that the West Coast of the U.S. could experience similar earthquakes of the same size.