The Rose Canyon Fault Zone runs along the coast of Southern California and extends through the heart of downtown San Diego. The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) San Diego Chapter, in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Structural Engineers Association of San Diego have published their research on the likelihood and impact of a major earthquake occurring along the Rose Canyon Fault and its impact to San Diego-area residents and businesses.

In short, the scenario concludes that:

  • An 18% probability that there will be a 6.7 magnitude or greater quake occurring within the next 30 years (the scenario focuses specifically on the impact of a 6.9 magnitude earthquake)
  • $38 Billion in Building and Infrastructure Damages
  • 120,000 Buildings Suffering Moderate to Complete Damage
  • 8,000 Buildings Damaged Beyond Repair
  • 36,000 Households Displaced

Key Findings:

  • Many of San Diego’s historical buildings located downtown were built prior to seismic design provisions were enforced, making them particularly vulnerable to seismic activity
  • Utilities, such as water, waste, and gas lines are likely to be out for months
  • Transportation along I-5 will be halted due to bridge and roadway failures
  • Loss of water pressure due to breaks in water mains caused by the quake will impede emergency response, resulting in greater fire damage
  • Major regional services, such as the Port of San Diego, the San Diego International Airport, and the Department of Defense would be severely disrupted
  • Long term effects, such as mass emigration out of the San Diego area, would cause real estate and commercial markets to plummet

The San Diego EERI website

The EERI San Diego Earthquake Scenario report


Published by March 15, 2020