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Earthquake damage to transportation systems

January 1, 1994

Earthquakes represent one of the most destructive natural hazards known to man. A large magnitude earthquake near a populated area can affect residents over thousands of square kilometers and cause billions of dollars in property damage. Such an event can kill or injure thousands of residents and disrupt the socioeconomic environment for months, sometimes years. A serious result of a large-magnitude earthquake is the disruption of transportation systems, which limits post-disaster emergency response. Movement of emergency vehicles, such as police cars, fire trucks and ambulances, is often severely restricted. Damage to transportation systems is categorized below by cause including: ground failure, faulting, vibration damage, and tsunamis.

  • USGS Source: Publications Warehouse (indexId: 70114624)