The current (1996) national probabilistic seismic-hazard maps utilize information about geologic structure and tectonics of the central and eastern U.S. to compensate for uncertainty that arises from the short seismicity record. Geology was incorporated into the maps mainly as seven source zones that are delineated in three distinct ways. The North American stable continental region is divided into two large zones, the sparsely seismic Precambrian craton and the more active Phanerozoic rim. Five other source zones are much smallerqthe Wabash Valley source zone is within the craton, whereas the Reelfoot Rift, eastern Tennessee, Charleston, and Charlevoix source zones are in the Phanerozoic rim of the continent. We document these zones and explain and justify their use. The seven zones provide a foundation from which we suggest a criterion for including more geology in future maps.