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The Great Southern California ShakeOut
The Great Southern California ShakeOut

The ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario:


The details from a scenario involving a magnitude 7.8 earthquake along the San Andreas fault in southern California have been released.

The ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario—A Story That Southern Californians Are Writing
24 page USGS Circular

The ShakeOut Scenario
312 page USGS Open File Report

News Release: Disaster Earthquake Scenario Unveiled for Southern California

NEW! Amazing new short film depicts what will happen in a "big one" as a catalyst for preparedness.

ShakeOut Videos
Simulations developed by the Southern California Earthquake Center ShakeOut Simulation workgroup. Simulation by Rob Graves, URS/SCEC. Visualization by Geoff Ely, USC/SCEC.

Watch on YouTube

Ground shaking during a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas fault; red indicates areas of strongest ground shaking.

The Great Southern California ShakeOut is based on a potential magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault— approximately 5,000 times larger than the magnitude 5.4 earthquake that shook southern California on July 29. It’s not a matter of if an earthquake of this size will happen—but when. And it is possible that it will happen in our lifetime.

Dr. Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey has led a group of over 300 scientists, engineers, and others to study the likely consequences of this potential earthquake in great detail. The result is the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario, which is also the basis of this year’s statewide emergency response exercise, Golden Guardian 2008.

In an earthquake of this size, the shaking will last for nearly two minutes. The strongest shaking will occur near the fault (in the projected earthquake, the Coachella Valley, Inland Empire and Antelope Valley). Pockets of strong shaking will form away from the fault where sediments trap the waves (in the projected earthquake, it would occur in the San Gabriel Valley and in East Los Angeles).

An earthquake of this size will cause unprecedented damage to Southern California—greatly dwarfing the massive damage that occurred in Northridge’s 6.7-magnitude earthquake in 1994. In summary, the ShakeOut Scenario estimates this earthquake will cause some 2,000 deaths, 50,000 injuries, $200 billion in damage and other losses, and severe, long-lasting disruption. The report has regional implications and is a dramatic call to action for preparedness.


Unless we take action today, there will be major losses of life and property. The Great Southern California ShakeOut has been organized to help raise awareness as well as help Southern Californians prepare for the big earthquakes in our future.

Take the first step in your preparation today— register for the Great Southern California ShakeOut.



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