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The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program recently released a new strategic plan for earthquake monitoring entitled the “Advanced National Seismic System – Current Status, Development Opportunities, Priorities, 2017-2027.”

The Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) will focus on improving the robustness of essential services and retaining capacity for future innovation, and developing capacities that will improve further earthquake safety and support response and recovery, nationwide. 

Specifics priorities include:

  • Ensuring Readiness in an Earthquake Crisis
  • Advancing Earthquake Safety in Urban Areas
  • Expanding the Observational Database for Earthquake Risk Reduction
Map showing locations of ANSS stations
Map of ANSS free-field seismic stations across the U.S. in 2016 (not shown are additional seismic instruments in buildings and other structures).  Map colors show seismic hazard across the United States derived from the National Seismic Hazard Model.  Background colors indicate the levels of shaking that have a 2% chance of being exceed in a 50-year period.  Shaking is expressed in a percentage of g, which is the acceleration of a falling object due to gravity, with red colors indicating highest shaking and thus higher hazard.  Notice the greater density of stations in regions with either higher hazard, higher risk (e.g., southern California), or both.(Public domain.)

Earthquakes pose a threat to the safety of over 143 million people living in the United States, and estimated long-term “annualized earthquake losses” in the United States are over $4.5 billion per year.  The social and economic losses associated with deaths, injuries, and damage to property and infrastructure can be significantly reduced if communities understand the risk and take proactive steps to mitigate that risk. 

The ANSS is a cooperative effort to collect and analyze seismic and geodetic data on earthquakes, issue timely and reliable notifications of their occurrence and impacts, and provide data for earthquake research and the hazard and risk assessments that are the foundation for creating an earthquake-resilient nation.  To meet the needs and expectations of the next decade, the plan provides a detailed review of necessary advancements and specific development opportunities in earthquake monitoring nationwide.

Since 2000, the ANSS has strengthened infrastructure and partnerships, and developed new earthquake information products and services.  As a result of investments made in the ANSS, any earthquake of significance in the United States or anywhere in the world can now be rapidly characterized by a suite of products, providing situational awareness during times of crisis. ANSS monitoring serves scientific research and earthquake engineering needs, including advancing the understanding of how buildings and other structures perform in an earthquake.

 A detailed look at the latest plan is available here; also available from the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program website is a comprehensive library of resources and education materials highlighting all USGS efforts in earthquake research.

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