VANCOUVER - A map released by the City of Vancouver highlights areas that would see the most severe damage during a significant earthquake.

The map has been produced as part of the city's ongoing investments to assess earthquake risk and upgrade infrastructure.

It shows a magnitude 7.3 earthquake would cause the most damage to Vancouver's older, multi-family residential and commercial areas.

Neighbourhoods in Chinatown, the west end, Kitsilano, and south Granville would be hit the hardest, with pockets of damage also highlighted in the Point Grey, Strathcona, Mount Pleasant and Marpole areas.

But the map also shows much of the southern half of Vancouver could see limited damage, although a statement from the city says disruption from such a powerful shaker would be felt city-wide.

City officials are releasing the map in preparation for the 2019 Great British Columbia ShakeOut drill, due to be held across the province at 10:17 a.m. on Thursday.

Earthquake Vancouver map

“During an earthquake the best thing you can do is drop, cover, and hold on,” says the city's statement.

The drill is designed to encourage all British Columbians to practice their response to an earthquake and assess emergency preparedness.

Vancouver Fire Chief Darrell Reid says beyond participating in the drill, everyone should be prepared.

“Know the risks, make a plan and have the emergency supplies you need to get by so first responders can prioritize life-saving calls,” says Reid.

The area of greatest risk in B.C. is along the Cascadia subduction zone, a fault running from northern Vancouver Island to northern California, separating the Juan de Fuca plate east of Vancouver Island and the North American plate which supports much of the south coast.

Earthquake analysts say the Juan de Fuca plate is skidding below the North American plate, creating the potential for a major slip along the fault line, which would trigger a powerful earthquake.

The B.C. government's earthquake and tsunami guide says quakes powerful enough to cause structural damage happen in the province on an average of once per decade.

The province says there have been four large shakers since the devastating magnitude 9.0 earthquake in 1700, including a 7.8 quake that caused significant damage across Haida Gwaii in 2012.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2019.