Earthquake Catastrophe Risk

Earthquake Catastrophe Risk Map

The United States Geological Survey published a map showing the earthquake catastrophe risk in different parts of the country. This data comes from seismic records of 130,000 earthquakes of a magnitude on the Modified Mercalli intensity scale of six or higher, which is severe enough to frighten people, move furniture, and cause other damage, like falling plaster. Most of us know about some geologically unstable regions of the country, but other areas may be surprising.

The highest earthquake catastrophe risk within the next 100 years is essentially the whole western edge of California, the southern part of Alaska from Juneau through the Aleutians, and the eastern islands of Hawaii. Those areas with a 75 to 95% chance of a damaging earthquake include virtually all of California, the Yellowstone National Park area, and the intersection of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The study says that 230 million people live in areas with a 95% chance of a damaging earthquake.

The point of this data is that there will be a massive earthquake sometime in the next 100 years, causing death and structural damage. Many people will blame this coming catastrophe on God. The fact is that earthquakes are a natural product of the uplift of the land. Without those forces, erosion would have brought all land masses to sea level. Despite the data, humans continue to build huge structures in areas where earthquake catastrophe risk is high. This can be added to a long list of situations where humans set themselves up for a catastrophe.

My wife and I were on Hawaii’s “Big Island” when Kilauea erupted in May 2018. In one of the places we visited, lava flow had destroyed many homes. We happened across a man who was working on a new house. I asked him if he was not concerned that another lava flow might destroy this house. He laughed and said, “God wouldn’t do that to me twice.”

We need to understand that God does not cause bad things to happen to us. If you eliminate what humans do to each other and the foolish acts humans engage in (like building a house in the path of a lava flow or on an earthquake faultline), much human pain and suffering would stop. Read James 1:13-17.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: U.S. Geological Survey HERE and HERE