Memphis Earthquake Hazard Mapping Project

Memphis has a dense urban population near faults capable of producing major earthquakes.

Memphis riverfront

A high probability of a moderate earthquake in the near future (e.g., a 25-40% probability of a magnitude 6.0 or greater in the next 50 years), and relatively low regional attenuation (in other words, seismic waves do damage over a greater area in this region than for the same magnitude earthquake in the west). Memphis lies within the New Madrid seismic zone, which is the most seismically active and well-studied region in the Central and Eastern U.S.

For some basic information on earthquake hazards and hazard maps, please see Earthquake Hazards 101.

Products

Technical documentation (PDF download) explains how the ground shaking hazard maps were made, with details and terminology meant for readers with engineering and/or scientific expertise.

Non-technical documentation explains how the ground shaking hazard maps were made, in plain English and without lots of the nitty-gritty details and technical jargon.

Maps and technical and non-technical documentation about new liquefaction potential maps for Memphis are available online.

Deterministic (scenario) ground shaking maps

Deterministic ground motion maps show different types of motions for a single specific hypothetical earthquake (scenario or magnitude and location). View these online or download graphic or grid files. Posters now available!

Deterministic seismic hazard map
Deterministic seismic hazard map showing ground motions expected from a M7.7 earthquake located northwest of Memphis, on a fault coincident with the southern linear zone of modern seismicity. As above, motions are accelerations with oscillation periods of 1 second for the same area shown in the above inset map and include site amplification effects.

Probabilistic ground shaking maps

Probabilistic ground motion maps show different types of motions for various probability levels. View these online or download graphic or grid files. Posters now available!

Probabilistic seismic hazard map showing ground motions with a 2% probability of being exceeded in 50 years.
Probabilistic seismic hazard map showing ground motions with a 2% probability of being exceeded in 50 years.  Motions are accelerations with oscillation periods of 1 second. Inset map of the Memphis area includes site amplification effects,  superimposed on the national seismic hazard map, which does not account for local geologic structure.

Surficial geologic maps

Liquefaction Potential maps

Probabilistic liquefaction showing the probability of severe liquefaction with a 2% chance of being exceeded in the next 50 years.

Probabilistic liquefaction showing the probability of severe liquefaction with a 2% chance of being exceeded in the next 50 years.