In playing SimCity, I seem to have fewer "random" disasters (Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Meteors, Big Lizards, etc...) than my friends. This makes me think that they must not be truly random, but that there is some sort of trigger. Are there specific triggers for each disaster? Or are there certain statistics that increase the likelihood of a given disaster? Or is it truly random and I am just looking for patterns where none exist?

  • I had a Giant Lizard attack on a city with 21K. At the time I had only 6K in funds, so i don't think population or funds matters. But I have very high pollution.
    – user46090
    Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 23:15

3 Answers 3


The achievments which unlock disasters seem to point to particular city conditions that may make a disaster more likely. For example, here are the achievements that are earned which unlock the player ability to trigger a disaster.

  • Dug Too Greedily and Too Deep - Mine 100 tons of coal or raw ore in your city to gain access to the Earthquake disaster
  • What Goes Up Must Come Down - Have 200 tourists arrive on flights at the Municipal Airport in a day to gain access to the Meteor Strike disaster
  • Laboratory Outbreak - Add a Diagnostic Lab to a Hospital and have 15 Sims die in a day to gain access to the Zombie Attack disaster
  • What's Cookin'? - Burn 100 tons of garbage in an Incinerator at the Garbage Dump to gain access to the Big Lizard disaster
  • We Are Not Alone - Ship any resource to a Space Center Great Work to gain access to the UFO Encounter disaster
  • Blowin' in the Wind - Have 24 Wind Turbines at Wind Power Plants in your city to gain access to the Tornado disaster

However, I can say from personal experience that I have had every one one of these disasters happen without any of the potential conditions listed by the achievement in play. I've had an earthquake with no mine, a meteor strike with no airport, a zombie attack with no Lab, etc.

This leads me to believe that disasters are truly random, and that you may just be luckier than your friends.

Without an official post from EA/Maxis we will never truly know. As I said earlier, I have experienced disasters of all types in small or large cities, dirty or clean cities, cities of different specializations, without a discernible pattern.

  • I have actually found pollution levels to be an apparent relationship between disasters. Just food for thought
    – James
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 22:09
  • I would 2nd that opinion James. From what I can tell between my cities pollution seems to be causing them occur more frequently.
    – teeone
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 4:26
  • Agreed - I made a city that was heavy into coal mining with coal plants (i.e. mined a lot and had a lot of pollution) and I experienced several earthquakes.
    – louielouie
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 19:22
  • But at the same time, I have done similar heavy industry cities, or friends of mine have done them, and have experienced no more or less than they have in clean high-tech cities.
    – Tater596
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 14:46
  • I was under the impression that the achievements unlocked the disasters account-wide, not for that particular city. Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 23:58

Population and density, among other things. I've not had a disaster on a city smaller than 20K. In my largest test city at 200,000 plus I get them with some regularity. And I have had all of them at least once over a 12 year span.

  • Maybe. They have happened the most on my city of high pollution, 70k population city. Much less on my 120k, low pollution city. Maybe its related to age of the city, or income/funds?
    – teeone
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 22:51

I got a big lizard when i had 70 tons of trash so they can be triggered; also, I had a zombie attack from non educated people and had an earthquack from coal and ore mines. The city is ruined so they can be triggered - be careful!

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