Induced Earthquakes Raise Chances of Damaging Shaking in 2016

One-year seismic hazard forecast for the Central and Eastern United States from induced and natural earthquakes (Open-File Report 2016-1035)
US Geological Survey http://on.doi.gov/21PkZm5  [Press Release]
https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20161035 [Maps]

For the first time, new USGS maps identify potential ground-shaking hazards from both human-induced and natural earthquakes. In the past, USGS maps only identified natural earthquake hazards.

This is also the first one-year outlook for the nation’s earthquake hazards, and is a supplement to existing USGS assessments that provide a 50-year forecast

The report shows that approximately 7 million people live and work in areas of the central and eastern U.S. (CEUS) with potential for damaging shaking from induced seismicity. Within a few portions of the CEUS, the chance of damage from all types of earthquakes is similar to that of natural earthquakes in high-hazard areas of California…

Six States Face the Highest Hazards

The most significant hazards from induced seismicity are in six states, listed in order from highest to lowest potential hazard: Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arkansas. Oklahoma and Texas have the largest populations exposed to induced earthquakes.

“In the past five years, the USGS has documented high shaking and damage in areas of these six states, mostly from induced earthquakes,” said Petersen. “Furthermore, the USGS Did You Feel It? website has archived tens of thousands of reports from the public who experienced shaking in those states, including about 1,500 reports of strong shaking or damage.”

In developing this new product, USGS scientists identified 21 areas with increased rates of induced seismicity. Induced earthquakes have occurred within small areas of Alabama and Ohio but a recent decrease in induced earthquake activity has resulted in a lower hazard forecast in these states for the next year.  In other areas of Alabama and small parts of Mississippi, there has been an increase in activity, and scientists are still investigating whether those events were induced or natural…

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