Earthquake Scenarios

An earthquake scenario tells the story of a defined earthquake and its consequences, to help communities understand the physical social, economic and environmental impacts of that earthquake.

Scenarios are useful tools for response planning, training and exercises; mitigation planning; recovery planning, training and exercises; and educational and awareness outreach.

The NEHRP Scenario Project grew out of an Earthquake Scenario Planning Workshop in 2008 and the website contains a complete look at defining, creating, and implementing earthquake scenarios.

Many of the WSSPC states and communities have created their own scenarios, from the smallest to largest scales. These scenarios are linked below to their reports.

County of Hawai’i (2007)
This scenario looks at the island of Hawai’i and was the recipient of the 2007 Overall WSSPC Award in Excellence. Earthquake Hazards and Estimated Losses in the County of Hawaii (2005)

Borah Peak, Idaho (2008)
Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security and Idaho Geological Survey combined efforts to use HAZUS Level I to compare modeled damage estimates with actual ones from the 1983 M 7.1 earthquake.
Executive Summary

Cascadia Scenarios

This Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW) scenario looks at the Cascadia Subduction Zone and was Winner of 2008 WSSPC Award in Excellence for Outreach.
Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquakes: A Magnitude 9.0 Earthquake Scenario (Update, 2013)
Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquakes: A Magnitude 9.0 Earthquake Scenario (2005)

This Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) publication estimated future earthquake damage in a number of categories. Winner of 2000 WSSPC Award in Excellence for Research Projects.
Special Paper 29 Earthquake Damage in Oregon: Preliminary Estimates of Future Earthquake Losses, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (1999)

Planning Scenario in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, California for a Great Earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, California Geological Survey Special Publication 115 (1995)

The Great Southern California ShakeOut! (2008)

A copy of the full technical report, The ShakeOut Scenario – The Effects of a Potential M7.8 Earthquake on the San Andreas fault in Southern California, is available online as CGS Preliminary Report 25 /  USGS Open-File Report 2008-1150: or

A non-technical summary narrative of the Scenario, The ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario – A Story That Southern Californians Are Writing (2008) is online as CGS Special Report 207/USGS Circular 1324:  or

Seattle Fault, Washington (2005)
Winner of the 2007 WSSPC Award in Excellence in Outreach. Scenario for a Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake on the Seattle Fault (2005).

Nevada Counties (2006)
Loss Estimation Modeling of Earthquake Scenarios for Each County in Nevada Using HAZUS-MH

Estimation of Future Earthquake Losses in California

Hayward Fault
M7.0 Earthquake Scenarios – Hayward Fault (USGS) Estimating Economic Losses in the Bay Area from a Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake (2007)