October 20, 2012 – Eastern United States Earthquake History and Hazards Map: A new map detailing all known geologic faults east of Denver was issued by the U.S. government and a nonprofit electric research group, opening the way for nuclear power plants in the United States to embark on a broad re-evaluation of their vulnerability to earthquakes. It was the first major update of the map since 1989. While researchers began the computer modeling for the map long before the earthquake and tsunami that caused last year’s Fukushima Daiichi plant disaster in Japan, that calamity lent urgency to a renewed effort to assess the American plants. Further concerns were raised by a quake last summer near Mineral, Virginia, which shook a twin-reactor plant there beyond the extent that its designers anticipated, resulting in its shutdown for safety checks. The study does not calculate the risk of damage from an earthquake or even specify what amount of ground motion is likely at the reactor sites, leaving that to their owners. “The model is the first step,” said Scott Brunell, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The computer model was developed by the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit utility consortium, with help from the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The map clearly shows the known earthquake hazards near New Madrid, Missouri and Charleston, South Carolina. What is surprising are the significant earthquake history and hazards near New York City and southeastern Canada. The size of the dots represents the size of historical earthquakes. The red dots are earthquakes >= 6.0 Magnitude. Click here for the complete study with over 185 detailed maps.
The Master of Disaster