A recent analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) paints a picture of potential earthquake activity in the next century, and some key findings raise eyebrows for residents of Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. Nearly 75% of the U.S. population, including millions in these states, could experience damaging shaking according to the latest National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM).

PHOTO: Sources/Usage: Public Domain
PHOTO: Sources/Usage: Public Domain

Don't panic, prepare: While earthquakes are unpredictable, this study emphasizes the importance of preparedness. Let's break down the key takeaways and equip you with the knowledge to stay safe in the event of an earthquake.

Here's what the NSHM says about the Tri-State:

  • Moderate risk: Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky fall within the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ), a historically active fault system responsible for major earthquakes in 1811 and 1812. The NSHM shows a 25-40% chance of a magnitude 6.0 or greater earthquake in this zone within the next 50 years.
  • Beyond NMSZ: The Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, located between southeastern Illinois and southwestern Indiana, also poses a threat, with a potential for damaging earthquakes.
PHOTO: Sources/Usage: Public Domain
PHOTO: Sources/Usage: Public Domain

Why this matters:

  • Preparedness saves lives: Earthquakes can cause widespread damage and disruption. Understanding the risks and knowing how to react makes a critical difference in emergency situations.
  • Building resilient communities: The NSHM can inform building codes and infrastructure upgrades, ensuring communities are better equipped to withstand seismic events.

Prepare with Pedro: Earthquake from American Red Cross on Vimeo.

Taking action:

  • Learn your risk: Familiarize yourself with the earthquake risks in your area. Visit the USGS website for detailed information and hazard maps.
  • Develop a plan: Create a family earthquake plan that outlines communication strategies, evacuation routes, and emergency supplies.
  • Practice drills: Conduct regular earthquake drills with your family to ensure everyone knows what to do in case of an event.
  • Assemble an emergency kit: Stock up on essential supplies like food, water, first-aid, and communication tools to sustain your family for at least 72 hours.
  • Secure your home: Identify and mitigate potential hazards within your home, such as loose furniture or unanchored shelves.

Earthquakes are unpredictable, but preparation can minimize their impact. By staying informed and taking preventive measures, you can protect yourself and your loved ones in the face of seismic tremors.

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