Earthquake Maps Show How Nation Shakes

(KHNL) -- In light of Friday's 5.2 magnitude earthquake in southern Illinois, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey revealed how shaky the nation is by releasing an updated version of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Maps.

Scientists say earthquakes remain a serious threat in 46 states in the United States.

The National Seismic Nazard Maps consist of a series of maps and databases describing ground shaking at many points across the country.

For areas like western Oregon and Washington, the new maps contain higher estmates for how hard the ground will shake.  But for most of the U.S., the ground shaking estimates are lower.

"The hazard maps released today incorporate more than a century of seismic monitoring and decades of research," said USGS Director Mark Myers.  "These maps help policymakers and engineers make all of our structures, from our homes to our hospitals to the utilities that run beneath our feet, better able to withstand the earthquakes of tomorrow."

The USGS encourages all citizens in earthquake-prone areas to follow the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety on its Web site.