Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nevada Seismological Laboratory ranks top 10 states for earthquake activity

22.11.2006
Exhaustive use of seismic records ranks top 10 states for seismic activity

For many years, John Anderson, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, has been telling citizens, reporters and other scientists from throughout the world that in terms of seismic activity in the 50 states, Nevada ranked as the third most active.

Then, during a meeting of the Nevada Earthquake Safety Council earlier this year, he learned that the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website actually ranked Nevada fourth, behind third-place Hawaii.

"One of the Safety Council members said, 'John, what in the world is going on here?'" Anderson remembered.

His curiosity piqued, Anderson began a study along with Yuichiro Miyata of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory to take another look at the data. The project turned into a national study, and their lists of the top 10 most seismically active states have just been published in the November/December issue of Seismological Research Letters, a bimonthly publication of the Seismological Society of America.

The undisputed leader for numbers of earthquakes? Alaska, of course, with California solidly in second place. But beyond that point, depending on how you measure activity, the rankings change. On the list that Anderson likes the best, which gives the greatest magnitude that is reached once per year on average, Nevada inches into third, at 5.1. For fourth-place Hawaii, it's 5.0.

The top 10 rankings, based on the magnitude of earthquake that occurs once per year on average: 1, Alaska, 6.70; 2, California, 6.02; 3, Nevada, 5.11; 4, Hawaii, 5.00; 5, Washington, 4.97; 6, Wyoming, 4.67; 7, Idaho, 4.57; 8, Montana, 4.47; 9, Utah, 4.29; 10, Oregon, 4.24.

"Everybody is dedicated to accurately portraying how and when earthquakes occur," said Anderson, who, as director of one of the nation's premier seismological laboratories, monitors such events on a daily basis. "The reason for talking about this is not to change the rankings or to have one state move ahead of another – it's to motivate people to build structures that resist earthquakes. If you're on this top-10 list, hopefully it will motivate you to be better prepared in the event of a large earthquake."

The lab, part of the University's College of Science and Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, records earthquakes in Nevada and parts of eastern California, as part of the U.S. Geological Survey's Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS). It also operates a seismic network in southern Nevada for the U.S. Department of Energy.

To determine the rankings, Anderson and Miyata consulted the ANSS catalog of earthquakes, which contains earthquake data from 1898 to 2005. They then supplemented this catalog with data from the USGS catalog of significant U.S. earthquakes from 1568-1989.

Miyata's participation as a GIS expert was also key, Anderson said.

"Yui is a GIS expert, and a graduate of our Department of Geography," Anderson said. "With GIS, it's very easy to sort out how many earthquakes have occurred with each state's borders."

"It only took a couple of days," Miyata said. "First, we took the whole earthquake catalog and divided it by state. And, we made sure that with states with coast line, we extended the borders to go about 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) beyond the coast."

In this way, the study was able to take into account seismic "hot spots" that exist undersea, and underneath, a state such as Hawaii.

Many earthquakes, including the magnitude-6.7 event that occurred in Hawaii recently, causing upwards of $50 million in damage, are driven by stresses set up on the flanks of active volcanoes by accumulated magma intrusions. Due to this concentrated volcanic source, Hawaii has a large number of smaller earthquakes. Seismicity in top-ranking states of Alaska, California and Nevada, however, is driven by plate tectonics, Anderson said.

For those keeping score, the difference in seismic activity between Nevada and Hawaii is not great, Anderson added.

"In terms of magnitude-7 earthquakes, Nevada and Hawaii are essentially tied, but in terms of magnitude-5 and greater earthquakes, Nevada is ahead," Anderson said. "Then, counting magnitude-3.5 and greater, Hawaii again leads. Considering the uncertainties, Nevada and Hawaii are essentially tied."

John Trent | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unr.edu
http://www.seismo.unr.edu/feature/NVrank.html
http://www.seismosoc.org/publications/srl.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores
24.01.2017 | University of Utah

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores

24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

PPPL physicist uncovers clues to mechanism behind magnetic reconnection

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>