How do I get earthquake hazard maps for locations outside of the U.S.?

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 that code. These spectral ordinates can be found in the document "UFC 3-301-01, Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC), Structural Engineering." We know of a version representing a date as late as September 2016. You can obtain this document by Googling this string: UFC 3-301-01, September 2016. The spectral ordinates can be found in Table F-3.

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How are engineers working to make roads and buildings safer?

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...

What is the USGS doing to mitigate and respond to earthquake hazards?

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...

Can the National Seismic Hazard Maps be used as an earthquake forecast tool for the near future?

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...

What is the probability that an earthquake is a foreshock to a larger earthquake?

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;...

Are earthquake probabilities or forecasts the same as prediction?

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...

What is the probability that an earthquake will occur in the Los Angeles Area? In the San Francisco Bay area?  

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...

How do I decide whether or not to get earthquake insurance?

You should consider the following factors when deciding whether or not to get earthquake insurance: proximity to active earthquake faults seismic history of the region (frequency of earthquakes) time since last earthquake building construction (type of building and foundation) architectural layout materials used quality of workmanship extent to...

How do earthquakes affect buildings?

Ground shaking is the primary cause of earthquake damage to man-made structures. Many factors influence the strength of earthquake shaking at a site including the earthquake's magnitude, the site's proximity to the fault, the local geology, and the soil type . More than 250 structures throughout the United States have been outfitted with seismic...

What is the likelihood of a large earthquake at location X?  Is it safe to go to X since they've been having a lot of earthquakes lately?

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...

How will my house hold up in an earthquake? Can the USGS send someone out to evaluate my property?

Published maps will only provide generalized, uninterpreted information about specific areas. Every property consists of a unique combination of geologic and structural factors that must be considered to determine what might happen to a house during an earthquake. Therefore, an individual site study is necessary. Geologic factors include: type of...

What are the earthquake hazards/risks where I live?

Determining your risk with regard to earthquakes, or more precisely shaking from earthquakes, isn't as simple as finding the nearest fault. The chances of experiencing shaking from an earthquake and/or having property damage is dependent on many different factors. The National Hazard Maps use all available data to estimate the chances of shaking (...

What is seismic hazard? What is a seismic hazard map? How are they made? How are they used? Why are there different maps, and which one should I use?

Seismic hazard is the hazard associated with potential earthquakes in a particular area, and a seismic hazard map shows the relative hazards in different areas. The maps are made by considering what we currently know about: Past faults and earthquakes The behavior of seismic waves as they travel through different parts of the U.S. crust The near-...
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Date published: March 14, 2018

USGS Authors New Report on Seismic Hazard, Risk, and Design for South America

New seismic hazard and risk assessments can help at-risk communities prepare for future earthquake disasters

Date published: April 27, 2016

One Year After the M7.8 Nepal Earthquake

USGS Scientists Return to Himalayan Nation to Learn Lessons 

Date published: August 13, 2014

Recent Chilean Earthquakes Signal Potential for Similar Future Events

Despite the magnitude 8.2 earthquake that hit northern Chile in April 2014, the plate boundary in that region is still capable of hosting shocks of the same size or even greater in the near future, according to new research presented in Nature. 

Date published: June 26, 2014

New Audiences, New Products for the National Seismic Hazard Maps

New Audiences, New Products for the National Seismic Hazard Maps

Date published: March 14, 2011

USGS Updates Magnitude of Japan’s 2011 Tohoku Earthquake to 9.0

The USGS has updated the magnitude of the March 11, 2011, Tohoku earthquake in northern Honshu, Japan, to 9.0 from the previous estimate of 8.9. Independently, Japanese seismologists have also updated their estimate of the earthquake’s magnitude to 9.0.

Date published: April 21, 2008

Earthquake Hazard Maps Show How the Nation Shakes with Quakes

Friday's magnitude-5.2 earthquake in southern Illinois is a reminder that earthquakes are a national hazard.

Filter Total Items: 9
Earthquake Catalog Map Results Example
December 31, 2017

Earthquake Catalog Map Results Example

Example of results returned when searching the USGS Earthquake Catalog. The ANSS Comprehensive Earthquake Catalog (ComCat) contains earthquake source parameters (e.g. hypocenters, magnitudes, phase picks and amplitudes) and other products (e.g. moment tensor solutions, macroseismic information, tectonic summaries, maps) produced by contributing seismic

...
Standing Masonry Buildings in Kathmandu, Nepal
April 27, 2016

Standing Masonry Buildings in Kathmandu, Nepal

Standing masonry buildings in Kathmandu suggest that shaking was not amplified in the valley sediments surrounding Kathmandu

Damage to Monuments in Nepal
April 27, 2016

Damage to Monuments in Nepal

Major damage was more likely to monuments in Kathmandu, Nepal than more modern structures.

April 2011 in waterfront area of Tohoku, Japan following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
April 11, 2011

Tohoku waterfront area, Japan

April 2011 in waterfront area of Tohoku, Japan following the March 11 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Image: Damage from 2008 Great Sichuan Earthquake in China
October 18, 2008

Damage from 2008 Great Sichuan Earthquake in China

The May 12, 2008, Great Sichuan Earthquake, also called the Wenchuan Earthquake, occurred at 14:28 local time, in Sichuan Province, China. The earthquake magnitudes were Mw = 7.9 (USGS), Ms = 8.0 (Chinese Earthquake Administration). The epicenter was 80 km west-northwest of Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan province. Damage by earthquake-induced landslides was

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Attribution: Natural Hazards
Image: Sichuan Mountains
June 10, 2008

Sichuan Mountains

The 12 May 2008 earthquake was strong enough to pull apart this road in China.

A mosque is left standing amid the rubble in Banda Aceh.
December 31, 2005

A mosque is left standing amid the rubble in Banda Aceh.

A mosque is left standing amid the rubble in Banda Aceh. Several mosques survived and may have been saved by the open ground floor that is part of their design. The tsunami waves reached the middle of the second floor.

Image: Destruction in Downtown Concepcion, Chile

Destruction in Downtown Concepcion, Chile

A masonry building in the downtown part of Concepcion, Chile partially collapsed as a result of the M 8.8 earthquake on Feb. 27, 2010. Most modern buildings in Concepcion were undamaged during the earthquake due to the city's adoption of adequate building standards. However, many masonry buildings such as this one were heavily damaged.

Image: Mw6.6 Lushan China Earthquake, April 20 2013

Mw6.6 Lushan China Earthquake, April 20 2013

Damage to a village house. Longxingcun.