USGS Unveils Startling Earthquake Risks: 75% of US Population at Peril
In a groundbreaking revelation, scientists at the US Geological Survey (USGS) have updated the National Seismic Hazard Model, exposing that a staggering 75% of the United States, housing hundreds of millions of Americans, is now susceptible to potentially damaging earthquakes.
New Fault Lines Increase Threats in Key Regions
The latest model incorporates a significant update, introducing 350 newly discovered fault lines since the last model in 2018, bringing the total to approximately 1,000 fault lines.
The implications of this update are particularly ominous for the central and northeastern ‘Atlantic Coastal corridor,’ encompassing major cities such as Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, now facing an elevated risk of disastrous earthquakes.
Heightened Risk in Seismically Active Regions
The heightened risk is not limited to the eastern corridor; seismically active regions like California, Alaska, and Hawaii also experience an increased threat.
Certain areas in California now face a staggering 95% chance of damaging earthquakes in the next century, painting a worrisome picture for residents.
Economic Impact: Forecasted Losses of $14.7 Billion Annually
The USGS forecasts average economic losses of $14.7 billion per year due to ground-shaking–related damage to buildings based on the updated model.
Mark Petersen, USGS geophysicist and lead author of the study, emphasizes the challenges in earthquake forecasting but notes the significant strides made with the new model.
The comprehensive research involved more than 50 reviewers and hundreds of hazard scientists and end-users in a multi-year collaborative effort.
Advanced Modeling Techniques and Probabilities of Shaking
To construct the updated hazard assessment, the research team utilized advanced techniques, including declustering algorithms and gridded seismicity models.
The model indicates that 25 states, including California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, and others, have moderate to higher probabilities of shaking within the next 100 years.
States at Risk: Surprising Inclusions and Methodological Changes
Surprisingly, states like New York, Illinois, and Texas were identified to be in the danger zone.
Methodological changes led to substantial increases in hazard ratios, particularly in lower seismic areas like New York City.
The team’s forensic analysis comparing the current and previous models revealed a 60% increase in hazard ratios in certain areas.
USGS Achieves Touchstone Achievement for Public Safety
The newly updated seismic hazard model, described as a “touchstone achievement for enhancing public safety” by Mark Petersen, offers the most detailed view ever of earthquake risks in the United States.
It underscores the importance of ongoing collaboration between federal, state, and local governments and the private sector in addressing the seismic threats faced by Americans.
In summary, the updated National Seismic Hazard Model is a wake-up call, reshaping the understanding of earthquake risks across the United States, with implications for major cities, states, and economic structures.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn