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The USGS monitors and conducts research on a wide range of natural hazards to help decision-makers prepare for and respond to hazard events that threaten life and property.

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Image: Damage from 2008 Great Sichuan Earthquake in China
There is more damage and more deaths from earthquakes in other parts of the world primarily because of buildings which are poorly designed and constructed for earthquake regions, and population density.
Damage from South Napa Earthquake
"Booms" have been reported for a long time, and they tend to occur more in the Northeastern US and along the East Coast. Of course, most "booms" that people hear or experience are actually some type of cultural noise, such as some type of explosion, a large vehicle going by, or sometimes a sonic boom, but there have been many reports of "booms"...
2014 South Napa Earthquake in California
The way an earthquake feels depends on where you are, where the earthquake is, and how big the earthquake is: A large earthquake nearby will feel like a sudden large jolt followed quickly by more strong shaking that may last a few seconds or up to a couple of minutes if it's a rare great event. The shaking will feel violent and it will be...
Potential earthquake map shaking
It isn't that simple. There is not one magnitude above which damage will occur. It also depends on other variables, such as the the distance from the earthquake, what type of soil you are on, etc. That being said, damage does not usually occur until the earthquake magnitude reaches somewhere above 4 or 5.
Image: Installing Antenna and Solar Panel for Seismic Station
The U.S. Geological Survey performs the following functions related to earthquake hazard mitigation: Receives, analyzes, maintains, and distributes data on earthquake activity worldwide. Satellites link our National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado to a network of seismograph stations. These stations, located throughout the world...
Image: Northridge, CA Earthquake Damage
Earthquake engineers are working to make roads and buildings safer in the event of a major earthquakes. This includes both improving the design of new buildings and bridges as well as strengthening older units to incorporate the latest advances in seismic and structural engineering. The Federal Emergency Management Agency plays a central role in...
Earthquake Catalog Map Results Example
We know of no current "zone" designations for sites outside of the United States. For locations outside the United States for which seismic design is required for military facilities, there exists a standard based on probabilistic spectral ordinates in the manner of the International Building Code and are declared to reflect the 2015 version of...
USGS map displaying potential to experience damage from a natural or human-induced earthquake in 2017
Not really. This web site is designed to display the probability of different sources that might occur in a several-year to several-decade period. The model bases all probability estimates on mean rate of earthquakes over long periods. As you shorten the time window, you should expect greater and greater fluctuations in what may be observed from...
Map depicting difference in USGS estimates of earthquake hazards from 2002 and 2014
No. Probabilities and forecasts are rather like climate probabilities and weather forecasts, while predictions are more like statements of when, where, and how large, which is not yet possible for earthquakes. Probabilities describe the long-term chances that an earthquake of a certain magnitude will happen during a time window. Most earthquake...
Map depicting more than 100 aftershocks that have occurred since the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Nepal on April 25, 2015. To dat
Worldwide the probability that an earthquake will be followed within 3 days by a large earthquake nearby is somewhere just over 6%. In California, that probability is about 6%. This means that there is about a 94% chance that any earthquake will NOT be a foreshock. In California, about half of the biggest earthquakes were preceded by foreshocks;...
3D perspective view of the likelihood that each region of California will experience a magnitude 6.7 within 30 years
Los Angeles area: Within the next 30 years the probability is: 60% that an earthquake measuring magnitude 6.7 46% that an earthquake measuring magnitude 7 31% that an earthquake measuring magnitude 7.5 will occur in the Los Angeles region. San Francisco Bay area: Within the next 30 years the probability is: 72% that an earthquake measuring...
USGS map displaying seismic events in 2015 and 2016 in the central and eastern U.S.
The National Seismic Hazards Mapping project provides an online web tool for determining the probability of a large earthquake within 50 kilometers (~31 miles) of a specific location over a certain time period.  The calculation is based on the latest available information from seismic hazard data. Unified Hazard Tool - Earthquake Hazard and...