Accession Number:

ADA462177

Title:

Earthquakes: Risk, Monitoring, Notification, and Research

Descriptive Note:

Congressional rept.

Corporate Author:

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2007-02-02

Pagination or Media Count:

22.0

Abstract:

Close to 75 million people in 39 states face some risk from earthquakes. Seismic hazards are greatest in the western United States, particularly California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii. The Rocky Mountain region, a portion of the central United States known as the New Madrid Seismic Zone, and portions of the eastern seaboard, particularly South Carolina, also have a relatively high earthquake hazard. Compared to citizens of other countries, relatively few Americans have died as a result of earthquakes over the past 100 years, but the country faces the possibility of large economic losses from earthquake-damaged buildings and infrastructure. Until Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 1994 Northridge CA earthquake was the costliest natural catastrophe to strike the United States some damage estimates were 26 billion in todays dollars. Estimates of total loss from a hypothetical earthquake of magnitude more than 7.0 range as high as 500 billion for the Los Angeles area. Given the potentially huge costs associated with a severe earthquake, an ongoing issue for Congress is whether the federally supported programs aimed at reducing U.S. vulnerability to earthquakes are an appropriate response to the earthquake hazard. Under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program NEHRP, four federal agencies have responsibility for long-term earthquake risk reduction the U.S. Geological Survey USGS, the National Science Foundation NSF, the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST. They variously assess U.S. earthquake hazards, send notifications of seismic events, develop measures to reduce earthquake hazards, and conduct research to help reduce overall U.S. vulnerability to earthquakes.

Subject Categories:

  • Seismology

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE