The council, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, says Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security because it's been so long since the country felt a devastating earthquake.
"The United States will certainly be subject to damaging earthquakes in the future, and some of those earthquakes will occur in highly populated and vulnerable areas," the report warned.
Moderate earthquakes are not unusual in parts of the United States, but the last "great" earthquake to strike the United States shook Alaska in 1964. Many people also are aware of the devastating quake and fire that affected San Francisco in 1906.
The council's recommendations include:
- An emergency response and recovery plan to improve preparedness
- Setting up a network to measure and monitor the disaster vulnerability of communities
- Develop new techniques for evaluating and retrofitting buildings to better withstand quakes
- Complete coverage of national and urban seismic hazard maps to identify at-risk areas
To view the complete report, click here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.