Many of the nation's top earthquake experts are in San Diego this week.
The National Earthquake Conference got underway Wednesday at the Sheraton Harbor Island, with the unveiling of an updated San Diego Earthquake Scenario.
The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute looked at the impact a magnitude 6.9 earthquake along the Rose Canyon Fault would have on the region.
"The Rose Canyon Fault was of concern for our study because it runs through the urban core of San Diego," said EERI Executive Director Heidi Tremayne.
The study found a quake of that magnitude would cause widespread damage.
"We have about 120,000 buildings through our estimates that could be damaged after a future earthquake on the Rose Canyon Fault," Tremayne said. "We’ve also found that there’s about $38 billion estimated of financial loss that could occur in our community."
The study did not look at individual buildings, but Tremayne said government agencies, religious centers and multi-family housing units built prior to 1990 are especially at risk.
San Diego's building codes were updated in the 1990s, so newer construction had to be built to higher standards.
Although the study could not predict when such an earthquake will occur, Tremayne said it is only a matter of time.
"We chose this particular scenario, but it is not the only earthquake that can happen in San Diego, and we want San Diego to be better prepared and to invest now to prevent damage for any earthquake that could happen in the region, Rose Canyon Fault or otherwise,” Tremayne said.