Documentation for the 2008 Update of the United States National Seismic Hazard Maps

Open-File Report 2008-1128
By: , and 



The 2008 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Seismic Hazard Maps display earthquake ground motions for various probability levels across the United States and are applied in seismic provisions of building codes, insurance rate structures, risk assessments, and other public policy. This update of the maps incorporates new findings on earthquake ground shaking, faults, seismicity, and geodesy. The resulting maps are derived from seismic hazard curves calculated on a grid of sites across the United States that describe the frequency of exceeding a set of ground motions. The USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project developed these maps by incorporating information on potential earthquakes and associated ground shaking obtained from interaction in science and engineering workshops involving hundreds of participants, review by several science organizations and State surveys, and advice from two expert panels. The new probabilistic hazard maps represent an update of the 2002 seismic hazard maps developed by Frankel and others (2002), which used the methodology developed for the 1996 version of the maps (Frankel and others, 1996). Algermissen and Perkins (1976) published the first probabilistic seismic hazard map of the United States which was updated in Algermissen and others (1990). The National Seismic Hazard Maps represent our assessment of the “best available science” in earthquake hazards estimation for the United States (maps of Alaska and Hawaii as well as further information on hazard across the United States are available on our Web site at

Suggested Citation

Petersen, Mark D., Frankel, Arthur D., Harmsen, Stephen C., Mueller, Charles S., Haller, Kathleen M., Wheeler, Russell L., Wesson, Robert L., Zeng, Yuehua, Boyd, Oliver S., Perkins, David M., Luco, Nicolas, Field, Edward H., Wills, Chris J., and Rukstales, Kenneth S., 2008, Documentation for the 2008 Update of the United States National Seismic Hazard Maps: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1128, 61 p.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • General Methodology
  • Central and Eastern United States
  • Western United States
  • Results of the Seismic Hazard Calculations
  • Conclusions and Proposed Future Improvements to Maps
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • Appendixes A–K
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Documentation for the 2008 update of the United States National Seismic Hazard Maps
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2008-1128
DOI 10.3133/ofr20081128
Edition Version 1.0: April 2008; Version 1.1: May 2008
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Hazards Program, Geologic Hazards Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Description Report: vi, 61 p.; 11 Appendices
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details