A shocking new report shows what kind of damage a large earthquake would do to Las Vegas. It also shows that "the big one" could hit here in the next 50 years.

Right at Tropicana and Decatur is the closest active fault to the Las Vegas Strip. It runs north and south along Decatur. The new damage data may be shocking, but it can better prepare the buildings in our area.

This year in Nevada we saw the damage from a magnitude 6 earthquake in Wells, Nevada. Just looking at what's going up on the Las Vegas Strip, you can imagine the damage here would be much worse.

Now we know just how bad.

UNLV and UNR scientists estimate a magnitude 6.6 quake would cause $18 billion in damage to buildings. It would kill 900 people. About 300,000 buildings in Las Vegas would suffer major damage and up to 11,000 people would need public shelter.

Clark County director of development services, Ron Lynn, says this is valuable information especially because of the mega casinos and hi-rises.

"What we are looking at in earthquakes is the survivability of the people inside. The buildings are going to be damaged," said Lynn.

Lynn will take the data and use it to change building codes to prove researchers wrong if an earthquake happens. Those building codes will mean the difference between loss of buildings or loss of life.

"A portion of the building will be damaged, but it will not fall down. You may have to do major repairs, even demolition and repairs to get the building back up to code, but the people survive and that is the key," said Lynn.

There are many active faults in the Las Vegas valley. Still, the new report found there is only a 10 to 20-percent chance of a magnitude 6 or greater earthquake here in the next 50 years. Lynn says we must take the report seriously and not gamble with the future.

"After all we are a gaming community. We know that the odds reestablish themselves each and every roll of the dice, if you will. They establish themselves each and every year. So it could be next year. It could be the year after. It could be 50 or 100 years," said Lynn.

He says we must and will be prepared for the worst thanks to this latest wake up call. The new report even says a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in the Spring Mountains would cause $9 billion in building damage and 300 fatalities.

Ron Lynn and earthquake scientists say Las Vegas is an under-researched area. You can read more about the report by clicking here.