In What Region Have Damaging Earthquakes Been Concentrated?

Mitch Diamond/Photodisc/Getty Images

Roughly three quarters of the world’s seismic energy is released in the form of earthquakes along the Pacific Ocean where it meets the western coasts of North, Central and South America. This seismic activity also reaches across the Pacific, where it manifests as earthquakes in Japan, the Philippines, China, Indonesia and Australia, according to the British Geological Survey.

Another 15 percent of Earth’s seismic energy is released where the African and Eurasian tectonic plates repeatedly collide. There, a seismic band stretches from the Mediterranean through the Caucasus and Himalayas to Burma, causing earthquakes along the way, according to the British Geological Survey.

The National Atlas reports that the majority of earthquakes that occur in the United States happen in Alaska and California. However, Washington State, Hawaii, Nevada and Idaho experience multiple earthquakes on a regular basis as well.

Where cities are concerned, Forbes published an article citing a study by nonprofit research organization GeoHazards International that indicates that the world’s most earthquake-vulnerable cities include: Tokyo, Kobe and Nagoya in Japan; Manila, Philippines; Delhi, India; Kathmandu, Nepal, Istanbul, Turkey; Quito, Ecuador and Islamabad, Pakistan. These cities have experienced a higher rate of earthquakes and earthquake-related damage than other cities, according to the study.