Since 1900, earthquakes in the United States have resulted in over 1300 deaths and direct damages totaling more than $51 billion. While the West Coast and Alaska have the highest risk, history shows that major earthquakes can also affect the Central and Eastern United States.
Most earthquakes are caused by the sudden release of built-up stress along faults, fractures in the Earth’s crust where large blocks of crustal rock move against one another. An earthquake’s size can be measured by the amount of energy released by that movement. While scientists can't predict earthquakes, they are developing earthquake early warning systems that can provide seconds to minutes of warning when an earthquake occurs. Scientists can also estimate the likelihood of future quakes and use that information to design safer buildings and roads. Read more