Critical Issues Monthly Roundup: February 2018

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A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA

Welcome to March! Here’s what’s new from the Critical Issues Program:

  • If you’ve ever looked at an earthquake hazard map for the United States, you’ll have noticed familiar areas of high risk on the West Coast, Alaska, and parts of the Rockies. But if you let your eyes drift east, you’ll see a zone of similarly high earthquake hazard centered where Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee meet. This is the New Madrid Fault Zone, where major (magnitude > 7) earthquakes strike in packs, once or twice a millennium. In 1811-1812, three major earthquakes struck this region, destroying much of what was then the sparsely populated Western Frontier. Today, this region is a major hub of transportation, manufacturing, and critical infrastructure with a population in the millions. Our new factsheet on the New Madrid Fault Zone provides an introduction to the human and economic exposures to earthquake hazards in this region, with lots of additional resources for you to dive into, from the science behind earthquake risk assessment to state-level mitigation strategies..
  • We’ve been updating our Frequently Asked Questions section of our website to make sure we’re bringing you the most up-to-date information available on critical geoscience issues. From mineral resources to climate, from energy and water to natural hazards, our 100 FAQs bring together the collective knowledge of federal and state agencies, AGI member societies, and our own in-house subject matter experts, to provide you with answers to some of the most important questions linking geoscience and society.
  • • This month’s additions to our Maps & Visualizations database include interactive maps of groundwater monitoring information in the United States and post-fire debris flow hazards in Western states.
  • For more updates and information from the Critical Issues Program, including details of upcoming events, you can always subscribe to our mailing lists. You can follow us at @AGI_Updates for a wide range of geoscience topics, and at @AGI_Policy for the most policy-relevant information.