Natural disasters seem to be increasingly common these days. Whether it’s the rapid, machine gun-like frequency that hurricanes hit our coast or the earthquakes and tsunamis killing hundreds of thousands, it can feel like Mother Earth has a vendetta against humanity. Even if you live in an area you thought was relatively safe from natural disasters, you might be surprised at how much risk there actually is. And for millions of Americans, the biggest threat isn’t from hurricanes or floods — it’s from earthquakes.
Using data from the United States Geological Survey, we’ve compiled a list of 15 American cities that are in real danger of experiencing a devastating earthquake. Although some of these cities might not be much of a surprise, there are plenty that are — and might have you checking your homeowners insurance policy to make sure you’re in the clear. The USGS data say earthquake risk in these areas is both natural and man made (as a result of hydraulic fracturing, among other things), meaning parts of the country that were once relatively risk free now have increased odds of a serious seismic event.
We don’t mean to shake you up, but here are the 15 cities that could see potentially devastating earthquakes in the very near future.
New York sits on shaky ground — literally. Though the risk of a huge quake isn’t anywhere close to cities, such as Los Angeles or San Francisco, New York is located on an area fraught with fault lines. Moderate quakes have hit the region for centuries, average about 5.0 on the Richter scale. The last quake of that magnitude to hit New York occurred in 1884, and that means New York is about due to see another sometime soon.