LDS Emergency Preparedness

Be Prepared, Not Scared!

Surprising Places Earthquakes can Happen

Posted by Elise on November 26, 2010

LilGoldWmn (

Thousands of Earthquakes Hit the U.S. Each Year (and Not Just California)

Major earthquakes in Haiti and Chile this year left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, injured or dead. Virtually ignored amid news of these disasters was a much smaller earthquake in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma quake was thousands of times less powerful than the ones that struck Haiti and Chile, and it caused no serious injuries. Yet it, too, offers a powerful warning — earthquakes can affect many parts of the US.

Major earthquakes are rare across much of the US, but in some ways, this rarity increases the danger. In regions where major earthquakes are possible but not common, many buildings are not constructed to withstand severe shaking… and many residents know little about earthquake safety.


In  addition to California, US regions known to be at risk for major earthquakes include…

  •  Western Oregon and western Washington State.
  • The greater Mississippi River region from northern Mississippi up to southern Illinois.
  • Eastern South Carolina.
  • Nevada, particularly in the western part of the state.
  • Utah, western Wyoming, western Montana and eastern and central Idaho.
  • Much of Alaska.
  • Big Island of Hawaii.

Many other regions have lesser but still significant earthquake risks, including northeastern New York State, the North Carolina/Tennessee border area and parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, New Hampshire and Oklahoma.

For maps detailing earthquake risk areas, go to

Source:  Gavin Hayes, PhD, a research seismologist with the United States Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center (USGS/NEIC), Denver. The NEIC is the US government’s data center and archive for earthquake information. Dr. Hayes specializes in earthquake research and real-time response to large earthquakes.


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