Earthquakes in the Midwestern and Eastern United States?!

Most people think that earthquakes occur only in places like California, Alaska, and Japan. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Several major and numerous minor earthquakes have occurred in the midwestern and eastern United States, as well as eastern Canada.

Over 900,000 earthquakes occur worldwide each year. Fortunately, the vast majority of them are magnitude 2.5 or less, and great earthquakes (magnitude 8.0 or more) only happen about once every 5 to 10 years. Most of these great quakes occur along the plate boundaries, not in the eastern and midwestern U.S.

A few areas of the midwestern and eastern United States are more prone to earthquakes than others. The most earthquake-prone areas include Charleston, South Carolina, eastern Massachusetts, the St. Lawrence River area, and the central Mississippi River Valley. Other sections of this part of the country are prone to earthquakes, but can expect fewer quakes of smaller magnitude. Below is a map showing the risk of damage by earthquakes for the continental United States.

USA map showing contours of earthquake hazards throughout the country.
Highest earthquake hazards in the USA are found on the west coast, the western mountain range, the midwest south of the Great Lakes, the southern coast of Alaska, and the big island of Hawaii.

What Should I Do Before, During, and After an Earthquake?