Where Do Earthquakes Occur In The Us?


If there is one thing that many Americans seem to forget, it’s the fact that devastating earthquakes have occurred there in the past and will most likely happen in the near future – this revelation may make some of you wonder “where do earthquakes occur in the US?” While there is no possible way to predict when and where exactly an earthquake will hit, a few calculations based on historical facts, patterns, and data relate to seismic activities may lead us to a good estimate as to which parts of America are prone to earthquakes. Keep reading to find out interesting facts on where earthquakes have occurred in the past and where it will most likely occur in the near future.


Historical Records of Earthquakes in the United States

Where do most earthquakes occur? A lot of Americans are under the impression that earthquakes only happen in Japan, California, and Alaska. This is probably due to the nonexistent seismic activity in the recent years. However, let’s not forget the fact that devastating earthquakes have occurred so many times in the past and it will most likely occur again in the near future.

To understand where do most earthquakes happen in the past, let’s study the statistics and records of earthquakes that have happened in the Eastern and Midwestern.

  1. In 1811 and 1812, three most devastating earthquakes were recorded in New Madrid, Missouri. With the magnitude between 7.2 and 8.3 on the Richter scale, the region suffered not only from the mainshocks, but also significantly damaging aftershocks which happened for over 203 times and resulted in soil liquefaction.
  2. In 1886, it was Charleston’s turn. The South Carolina’s district suffered from an earthquake of the magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale with 60 people reportedly died and more than 400 aftershocks occurred over the next 30 years. Soil liquefaction also occurred as a result.
  3. In 1982, Arkansas suffered from 88 earthquakes with the magnitude estimated between 4.0 to 4.5 for about three months and then followed with a total of whooping 40,000 earthquakes albeit of smaller magnitude over the next three years.

A few of the aforementioned informations on earthquakes happened in the past should be enough to answer your “where do earthquakes occur in the US” question and convince you that the United States, too, is not immune to earthquakes.

Which States are Prone to Earthquakes in the Coming Years

Some may notice that earthquakes do not happen as often as it was in the past, and quickly assume that the seismic activity has simply faltered in the United States which means they are safe from the threat. However, this cannot be further from the truth as the earth never stops moving. On top of that, there is the threat of man-made earthquake due to fracking and many more.

According to the annual report and hazards map released by the USGS, there has been a decrease in seismic activity this year, however, there has been a jump in induced-seismicity from fracking. To answer “where do earthquakes occur in the US?”, apart from the San Francisco Bay area – Oklahoma, Southern Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico are known to be at risk.

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