New USGS Earthquake Survey Map To Be Released Next Week

Thursday, March 24th 2016, 5:02 pm
By: Grant Hermes

Set to be released on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is unveiling a new earthquake hazard map that, for the first time, will include manmade quakes.

The survey’s hazard maps measure how likely earthquake activity is in a given area. Purples and blues mean a lower likelihood; oranges and reds mean higher.

Normally, the maps are put out every six years. The last map was released in 2014. Because the survey is including a new set of data by using the human-induced earthquakes, USGS is sending out the new map in an off year.

“My guess is that the biggest change you'll see in these maps will be in Oklahoma in the next week,” Oklahoma Insurance Department General Counsel Buddy Combs said.

The maps are used to adjust everything from emergency management procedures to road and bridge maintenance costs to property values. But one of the biggest things they affect is insurance rates for homeowners.

“Every insurance company will treat these maps differently. Some will put a lot of stock in them, some will put less stock in them. And they'll be just one of the things that companies will use to assess the risk for their policies,” Combs said.

The new hazard map is expected to be released at noon on Monday.