The ShakeOut scenario: A hypothetical Mw7.8 earthquake on the Southern San Andreas Fault

Earthquake Spectra
By: , and 



In 2008, an earthquake-planning scenario document was released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and California Geological Survey that hypothesizes the occurrence and effects of a Mw7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault. It was created by more than 300 scientists and engineers. Fault offsets reach 13 m and up to 8 m at lifeline crossings. Physics-based modeling was used to generate maps of shaking intensity, with peak ground velocities of 3 m/sec near the fault and exceeding 0.5 m/sec over 10,000 km2. A custom HAZUS®MH analysis and 18 special studies were performed to characterize the effects of the earthquake on the built environment. The scenario posits 1,800 deaths and 53,000 injuries requiring emergency room care. Approximately 1,600 fires are ignited, resulting in the destruction of 200 million square feet of the building stock, the equivalent of 133,000 single-family homes. Fire contributes $87 billion in property and business interruption loss, out of the total $191 billion in economic loss, with most of the rest coming from shake-related building and content damage ($46 billion) and business interruption loss from water outages ($24 billion). Emergency response activities are depicted in detail, in an innovative grid showing activities versus time, a new format introduced in this study.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The ShakeOut scenario: A hypothetical Mw7.8 earthquake on the Southern San Andreas Fault
Series title Earthquake Spectra
DOI 10.1193/1.3563624
Volume 27
Issue 2
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
Description 23 p.
First page 239
Last page 261
Country United States
State Calfornia
Other Geospatial San Andreas Fault
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details