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PEER Researchers Investigate American Canyon Earthquake

PEER is deploying multiple small teams of engineers and researchers to monitor data, reports, and images of injuries, damage, and business disruption caused by this morning’s predawn American Canyon earthquake in Napa County, California. Emergency centers and hospitals are treating the injured. Older buildings, including homes, suffered significant damage. Wineries and other businesses are cleaning up and assessing the impact of damage to their operations. Electric power is interrupted to thousands of households and businesses, roadways are damaged, and gas and water lines are broken, hindering recovery operations.

Tremendous strides have been made in the past two decades in earth science and earthquake engineering, so that it is highly unlikely that new buildings would collapse in an earthquake of this or even much larger intensity. However, many older buildings are highly vulnerable to the threat of earthquakes, and it is recommended that such buildings be evaluated by qualified professional engineers. Current design codes are not meant to make buildings “earthquake proof,” so significant damage is expected in both new and older structures, as well as to building contents. Preliminary figures estimate economic losses of at least $100 million in this region of over 100,000 people. These estimates will be adjusted as more information is received about the impact of damage and disruption from water, power, gas, roadways, and other infrastructure systems.

Updates from PEER will be provided as reports are received from PEER researchers in the field. Refer to PEER and the California Earthquake Clearinghouse.

For more information contact: Grace Kang, SE, PEER Director of Communications, at 510-642-3462,

Useful links:

Earthquake preparedness:

Small business:

California Earthquake Authority: