Earthquakes

Major Quake May Strike Bay Area Next Year
The San FranciscoBay Area is ripe for a major earthquake, and it could strike as early as next year.

The "most dangerous urban fault in America," scientists say, is the Hayward Fault, which runs under densely populated areas in the Bay Area including the city of Oakland.
 
The past five major earthquakes along the fault have occurred at regular 140-year intervals. The last one, in 1868, was mostly forgotten in the aftermath of the ruinous 1906 quake, which was triggered by the nearby San Andreas Fault.
 
But the 1868 event has garnered more distinction recently: October 2008 will mark the 140th anniversary of that magnitude 7 quake.
 
"We don't know when the next big quake [will be], but we do know that the Hayward Fault is ready," says Tom Brocher, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). New research also suggests the Hayward is much longer than previously believed, which could portend a disastrous earthquake two to four times bigger than was once thought.
 
"It's going to be right in Oakland," Brocher said of the quake's likely epicenter. "The shaking is going to be much stronger and much more damaging."
 
With the Hayward Fault raring to go, its location at the heart of the Bay Area could make for a devastating quake, Brocher said. Two and a half million people—a hundred times more inhabitants than lived in San Francisco in 1868—are clustered along the fault lines, some of which run underneath San Francisco's public transportation system, the BART.
 
Four and a half million more people who live in outlying areas may also be affected.
Several scientists estimate the coming temblor at a magnitude 7—about the severity of the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, which was centered along the San Andreas in mountains 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of San Francisco.
 

Many city governments and nonprofits, such as the 1868
Alliance, are already encouraging the public to prepare for a catastrophe. "Chances are excellent you're going to be a survivor," Brocher said, "[but] how comfortable you are after the quake depends on how well prepared you are."

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)
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