Here's what you need to know:
- More than 143 million people live in areas with some risk for damaging quakes.
- About 57 million people reside in areas with a moderate chance of such ground shaking.
- Approximately 28 million people are in areas with a "high potential" for potentially violent earthquakes in their lifetimes.
While California clearly isn’t the only state at risk for earthquakes, it tops the list of states with the highest potential for “strong ground shaking,” followed by Washington, Utah, Tennessee, Oregon, South Carolina, Nevada, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois. “Strong ground shaking,” while infrequent, means significant damage and casualties, according to the USGS. So sure, the West Coast looks like it's in the worst shape, but there's plenty of danger in states you never would have considered.
“Of particular concern is the significant amount of critical infrastructure located in high earthquake-hazard areas, ranging from private and public schools to health care facilities and fire stations," said Kishor Jaiswal, lead author of the study and a USGS research structural engineer. Good to know.