The quality standards set for the locks for the Panama Canal's Third Lane Expansion are enormously high, partly due to seismic risk. While the danger posed by earthquakes is perceived to be low, studies by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) found evidence of an active fault running next to the new locks on the Pacific side of the canal.
A program to examine the canal's seismic vulnerability was initially launched in 1994. In 2003, a Seismic Advisory Board was created to continue these efforts but also provide input for the then-proposed expansion project. The board's research found a fault running through the Pacific-side expansion project was positively linked to a temblor 400 years ago, believed to be of magnitude 7 or greater.