Reno ShakeOut Scenario Published

Peer-reviewed study by the Nevada Seismo Lab suggests a moderate Reno earthquake can produce severe shaking

Magnitude 6 earthquakes are not an annual occurrence in Reno. But a study published October 26, 2021 by a Master's graduate in the Seismo Lab warns that when such an earthquake does happen close to Reno, most of the urban area will shake severely. M.S. Geophysics graduate Eric Eckert and his advisers assembled a computational model dozens of gigabytes in size, simulating a magnitude 6 earthquake below south Reno. (The simulation required 6 hours on one of the world's top 50 fastest supercomputers, CORI at Lawrence Berkeley Lab.) The animation showing waves propagating away from the model quake's epicenter has a red color where the wave intensity is violent or extreme. On the computed map of shaking intensities across the Reno metro area, most of the urban area receives severe shaking with the potential for moderate damage to buildings and infrastructure, in yellow. Smaller areas in pink to red, which are impossible to predict exactly where, will be subject to violent or extreme shaking with potential for heavy damage. These peer-reviewed results are another reminder to look at to see how to protect yourself and your family, and to immediately Duck, Cover, and Hold On whenever you feel shaking.

Eric's study was partially funded by the US Dept. of Energy and the US Geological Survey.


Eckert, E., M. Scalise, J. N. Louie, and K. D. Smith (2021). Exploring Basin Amplification within the Reno Metropolitan Area in Northern Nevada Using a Magnitude 6.3 ShakeOut Scenario, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 112(1), 457-473, doi: 10.1785/0120200309

(43 Mb full-resolution PDF; 2.1 Mb compressed PDF)

Download a KMZ for Google Earth with the Modified Mercalli shaking intensity map in USGS ShakeMap colors. Compare to a related USGS prediction.

All electronic files for the scenario, including SAC synthetics and the 17 Gb SW4 material model Sfile.

Nevada ShakeZoning software and data for modeling earthquake shaking.

Computed wave propagation across Reno's geologic basins from a magnitude-6.3 earthquake. Where the wavefronts are red, this model predicts Severe or greater shaking.

Computer shaking intensity map up to 3.125 Hz

Computed earthquake shaking intensities for the Reno area, from this one earthquake. Yellow areas are predicted to get Severe shaking of more than 0.6 meter/second; orange and red areas are predicted to get Violent or Extreme shaking at over 1.0 meter/second.

Our predicted shaking intensity map in Google Earth Pro

Click on the image to download a KMZ for Google Earth with the Modified Mercalli shaking intensity map in USGS ShakeMap colors. Compare to a related USGS prediction.