San Francisco earthquake: Model Impact Estimates $400 Million to $2 BIllion

The second model suite is showing lower damage estimates than the initial model run.  The “Primary” model is indicating $1.7 Billion, with a range of around $400 Million to $2 Billion, average right at $1 Billion.  These may be a bit high given the event happened on a Sunday morning and the economic impact side is probably a little high. We’ll see as the damage reports come in.

Update: Earthquake damage estimates are highly dependent on what is called the “attenuation function” or AF, also called the ground motion function.  Simplified a bit, this is the rate at which the ground shaking decreases as the distance from the fault rupture increases.  For this earthquake it is especially tricky.  First, there are two main “families” of AF, for large and small earthquakes.  This earthquake falls right on the borderline of those two families.  Second, California is geologically complex and, finally, parts are virtually uninhabited right next to densely populated areas, small differences in position and depth make a big difference in projected damage.  The full range of AF that we have run so far this morning (14 models) gives a range of from $400 Million to nearly $10 Billion in impacts!  The best estimate is between $1 and $3 Billion at the moment.  As more seismic data is processed, and actual damage observations come in we can refine those estimates.

9:30am ET Update: With the updated magnitude (6.05), depth, and position, the average of the 15 models that make sense to run for this event are hovering at around $3 Billion in impacts, although the range is quite large, from just under $1 Billion to over $10 Billion, and our “primary” single model is at over $6 Billion (which, again, maybe be ‘hot’ due to the time of day and that it is a Sunday).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>