At least four million Americans are at serious risk of being affected by an earthquake of magnitude 4.0 or greater in 2017, according to the USGS.
The US Geological Survey has released its one‐year Seismic‐Hazard Forecast for the Central and Eastern United States and the good news is, they predict the rate of earthquakes will go down this year.
The now-annual report forecasts where earthquakes are most likely to occur in the centre and western coast areas over the coming year with the most serious hotspots in California, Seattle, Oklahoma, southern Kansas and parts of Colorado and New Mexico.
Surprisingly the majority of those affected, around 3.5million, will be from human-caused earthquakes the USGS claims, with the rest at risk from natural occurring quakes.
This means exactly what it sounds like, earthquakes caused by the effects of human activity rather than a natural occurance, the primary cause of which is wastewater from oil and gas drilling operations being injected deep into the ground.
While there may be fewer quakes the report predicts they will be more severe in force, something that happened in 2016.
Oklahoma, where the fracking industry has exploded over the last half-decade, experienced some of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the state during 2016, with three recorded over magnitude five.
There is some good news. The organisation projects a drop in earthquakes in comparison to 2016.
USGS’ Mark Petersen claimed the decline could be due to the introduction of regulations limiting the practice by the energy industry.
However, President Trump has previously claimed he plans to remove the restrictions during his administration, giving the companies more freedom to carry out the controversial techniques.
The largest recorded earthquake in US history was a magnitude 9.2 that struck Prince William Sound, Alaska in 1964.
So where should you move if you want to avoid earthquakes? Florida and North Dakota have, on average, the smallest number a year.