Like much of the state of California, which it is based on, San Andreas suffers from occasional earthquakes. One of these earthquakes took place a short time before the events of the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The earthquake is mentioned in the news on several radio stations. It is the cause of the closures of the inter-county bridges at the start of the game. No earthquakes ever occur during gameplay.
In 1988, an earthquake devastated the Doherty area in San Fierro, a reference to the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 that devastated San Francisco. Some buildings in Doherty show signs of damage, like the semi-destroyed buildings in the large lot behind the Xoomer Gas Station. Also, there is a large freeway viaduct that appears to be collapsed and in a state of disrepair, just east of Downtown San Fierro. Most of the area had been reconstructed, but some damaged structures still remain.
The San Andreas Fault Line, at the bottom of the San Fierro Bay, could have contributed to the earthquake.
In Bone County, there is a large rock formation that was broken in half. The left side of this formation collapsed, but managed to get stuck on the right side instead of falling over completely. The Earthquake is believed to be the cause of the collapse, but it could be another natural disaster.
Outside Palomino Creek, there is a small destroyed wooden bridge, which was destroyed most likely due to the earthquake.
The Real Earthquake
During the production of GTA San Andreas, it was actually possible for an earthquake to occur. While some parts of the code were removed from the final game, certain factors of the earthquake still appear in the game's executable file. By changing the earthquake's value to anything above zero, vehicles will begin to jump up and down, and pedestrians will jitter to simulate the earthquake. However, there is no visible camera shake effect and the game's environment goes unchanged.
- The construction site behind the Xoomer Gas Station was likely abandoned when the construction workers were killed by CJ in the mission Deconstruction.