At 7:31AM on May 16th 2017, a Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake occurred along the Rose Canyon Fault off of San Diego at location 32.850°N, 117.258°W at a depth of 4.9 km.

Only it didn’t, it was just a scenario, prepared by the USGS with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute to help develop plans for risk reduction in the Tijuana/San Diego region. This region is home to more than 5 million people, with interconnected and interdependent economies and infrastructures.  The scenario, and others like it, help answer questions like:

  • How prepared is the region in the case of a major earthquake?
  • What types of damages and impacts can be expected and perhaps more important, what types of impacts may be unexpected?
  • What will the social and economic impacts be to the region?
  • And what can be done now to improve earthquake safety and resilience?

This is a volunteer effort, involving architects, geologists, seismologists, emergency managers, planners, building officials, and even social scientists and economists. They are working in three interconnected teams to help put together an integrated view of the event and what might happen and how best to respond:

  1. Earth Science – What is likely to happen when the fault slips?
  2. Engineering – How are structures designed and how will they respond?
  3. Social Science – What are the impacts on the social systems and economics of the region?

Multiple partners, working together, will prepare recommendation on how to improve resilience and recovery.