Kentucky Geological Survey Report of Investigations


Although they are not frequent, earthquakes occur in and around Kentucky and pose certain hazards. Assessing seismic hazards is challenging, however, because of a lack of observations. The best estimates of ground motions that could be expected if the maximum credible earthquake occurs in or around Kentucky are depicted in maps showing peak ground acceleration and short-period (0.2 second) and long-period (1.0 second) response accelerations with 5 percent critical damping on hard rock. Another consideration for seismic safety is that the maximum credible earthquake has a long recurrenece interval, from 500 to 1,000 years in the New Madrid Seismic Zone and from 2,000 to 5,000 years in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone.

These maps can be used for seismic safety design for buildings, bridges, dams, and other structures. In combination with local geologic and geotechnical information, these maps can also be used to develop a variety of hazard mitigation strategies, such as land-use planning, emergency planning and preparedness, and lifeline planning.

Publication Date



Series XII

Report Number

Report of Investigations 22

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)