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San Diego Researchers Estimate Damage From ‘Big One’ Along Rose Canyon Fault

This map shows the Rose Canyon Fault that cuts through the heart of the city ...

Credit: USGS

Above: This map shows the Rose Canyon Fault that cuts through the heart of the city of San Diego, stretches across La Jolla and continues north along the coast.

It may not have the name recognition of the San Andreas fault, but San Diego's Rose Canyon fault is still capable of inflicting heavy damage, according to a new assessment by local researchers.

It may not have the name recognition of the San Andreas fault, but San Diego's Rose Canyon fault is still capable of inflicting heavy damage, according to a new assessment by local researchers.

The Rose Canyon fault cuts through La Jolla into downtown San Diego, running beneath heavily populated areas with lots of older buildings.

The local chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, EERI, has been studying what the effects of a magnitude 6.9 earthquake would be along this fault line.

Other local researchers have found that the fault has the potential to produce earthquakes of even stronger magnitude, but the EERI researchers chose to focus on a more likely outcome.

In preliminary results released Wednesday, researchers said a 6.9 earthquake could lead to about $60 billion in damage, and anywhere from 100 to 2,000 deaths.

Jorge Meneses, president of the San Diego EERI, said local governments on both sides of the border need to prepare.

"Whatever happens to San Diego is going to affect Tijuana. And whatever happens to Tijuana is going to affect San Diego," Meneses said. "So there should be a coordinated response after the earthquake."

Meneses estimated that a magnitude 6.9 earthquake could strike the Rose Canyon fault every few hundred years.

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