Minimization of the loss of life, property damage, and social and economic disruption due to earthquakes depends on reliable estimates of seismic hazard. National, state, and local government, decision makers, engineers, planners, emergency response organizations, builders, universities, and the general public require seismic hazard estimates for land use planning, improved building design and construction (including adoption of building construction codes), emergency response preparedness plans, economic forecasts, housing and employment decisions, and many more types of risk mitigation. The seismic hazard map of North and Central America and the Caribbean is the concatenation of various national and regional maps, involving a suite of approaches. The combined maps and documentation provide a useful regional seismic hazard framework and serve as a resource for any national or regional agency for further detailed studies applicable to their needs. This seismic hazard map depicts Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA) with a 10% chance of exceedance in 50 years. PGA, a short-period ground motion parameter that is proportional to force, is the most commonly mapped ground motion parameter because current building codes that include seismic provisions specify the horizontal force a building should be able to withstand during an earthquake. This seismic hazard map of North and Central America and the Caribbean depicts the likely level of short-period ground motion from earthquakes in a fifty-year window. Short-period ground motions effect short-period structures (e.g., one-to-two story buildings). The highest seismic hazard values in the region generally occur in areas that have been, or are likely to be, the sites of the largest plate boundary earthquakes.
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Seismic hazard map of North and Central America and the Caribbean