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How Do Scientists Determine Earthquake Probabilities?
This provides many links to articles, graphics, scientific papers and podcasts to help students understand how scientists determine probabilities for earthquake occurrences. Topics include the locations of faults and how much they need to move in order to release the strain that accumulates; the study of past earthquakes on each fault to predict the size of possible earthquakes that could occur in the future; and using information on how long it's been since the last earthquake to estimate the probability that an earthquake will occur in the next few years. Links to additional information are embedded in the text.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Tutorial
  • Visual:
    • Map
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
    • Geophysics
  • Natural hazards
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Information presented on this website is considered public information (unless otherwise noted) and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credit is requested. We strongly recommend that USGS data be acquired directly from a USGS server and not through other sources that may change the data in some way. While USGS makes every effort to provide accurate and complete information, various data such as names, telephone numbers, etc. may change prior to updating. USGS welcomes suggestions on how to improve our home page and correct errors. USGS provides no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of furnished data.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-008-813
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: The U.S. Geological Survey
Earthquake Hazards Program- Northern California