The recent magnitude 5.8 Virginia earthquake shows that earthquake hazard in Central and Eastern United States does exist, and earthquakes are national issue for the United States. While earthquakes in the Central and Eastern US are rare events, they are not unexpected.
Shaking from the Virginia earthquake was felt throughout the eastern seaboard and some building damage has been reported in the epicentral area as well as in several distant cities. In response, PEER is working with local researchers, engineers and officials to gather data on then performance of structures and infrastructure.
In a longer-term effort, the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) has a five-year research program called Next Generation Attenuation for Central and Eastern US (NGA-East) that is currently characterizing earthquake hazard in Central and Eastern US (CEUS). As part of NGA-East, PEER is collecting and processing recorded motions in CEUS, including the recent Virginia event, and in other regions with similar seismicity to quantify the earthquake hazard for the region.
The outcome of NGA-East will be public data and models to predict the level of ground motions in future earthquakes. Additionally, the ground motion data collected from the Virginia earthquake will be added to a new CEUS Ground Motion Database, that will become available to the public upon its completion. The NGA-East program is sponsored by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, US Department of Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, and US Geological Survey.
For more information, please contact Heidi Faison, PEER Outreach Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.