The information in the report could guide new building codes, geologists at the USGS said in a statement. The maps will also help set insurance rates and emergency preparedness plans. Private homeowners can consult them when deciding whether to reinforce their homes to make them more earthquake-safe.
"The standards for seismic safety in building codes are directly based upon USGS assessments of potential ground shaking from earthquakes, and have been for years,” said Jim Harris, a member and former chairman of the Provisions Update Committee of the Building Seismic Safety Council.
As geologists continue to study earthquake hazards, they plan to incorporate risks from man-made activities, such as the disposal of wastewater into deep wells, they said in the statement.
"The cost of inaction in planning for future earthquakes and other natural disasters can be very high, as demonstrated by several recent damaging events across the globe," said Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project. "It is important to understand the threat you face from earthquakes at home and the hazards for the places you might visit."
More from LiveScience:
Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Article originally appeared on LiveScience.