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 underlying material, depth to bedrock, depth of groundwater, and slope of land. Structural factors include: materials used (wood or masonry) in construction, number of floors, design, and retrofitting present.
As a publicly-funded organization, the U.S. Geological Survey conducts regional hazard assessments in conjunction with State and local agencies. We provide information that is used by planning officials to mitigate hazards. The USGS does not undertake assessments of individual private property. Site studies must be arranged by the owner of the property with geologists or engineers in private practice. To locate a qualified professional, contact your State government to determine its certification or licensing requirements for professional geologists and engineers in private practice. State boards of registration maintain lists of individuals who meet requirements established in their State. A local real estate company may also be able to recommend a qualified professional.
What is the probability that an earthquake will occur in the Los Angeles Area? In the San Francisco Bay area?
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?
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?
Why was an earthquake in Virginia felt at more than twice the distance than a similar-sized earthquake in California? The answer is one that many people may not realize. Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains can cause noticeable ground shaking at much farther distances than comparably-sized earthquakes in the West.
Early on the morning of August 24, 2014, Loren Turner was awoken by clattering window blinds, a moving bed, and the sound of water splashing out of his backyard pool. He experienced what is now named the “South Napa Earthquake.”
New Audiences, New Products for the National Seismic Hazard Maps
A new report issued by the American Red Cross and the U.S. Geological Survey documents the Chilean response and recovery efforts following the Feb. 2010 magnitude 8.8 earthquake and the lessons that California should learn from this disaster.
Friday's magnitude-5.2 earthquake in southern Illinois is a reminder that earthquakes are a national hazard.
A new geologic map of surficial deposits in the nine-county San Francisco Bay region that can be used to evaluate earthquake hazards has been released in digital form by the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park.
Damage to buildings in Cushing, Oklahoma from the magnitude 5.0 earthquake on November 6, 2016. Unreinforced brick and stone masonry buildings and facades are vulnerable to strong shaking. Photograph credit: Dolan Paris, USGS
House damage in central Oklahoma from the magnitude 5.6 earthquake on Nov. 6, 2011. Research conducted by USGS geophysicist Elizabeth Cochran and her university-based colleagues suggests that this earthquake was induced by injection into deep disposal wells in the Wilzetta North field.
Chimney damage to a house in Louisa County, Virginia, after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake on August 23, 2011.