When you think of earthquakes in California, you generally think of three scary words: San Andreas Fault.
The 7.9 earthquake that struck along that fault on April 18, 1906, destroyed San Francisco, and that quake was centered....in the ocean.
But, according to a new study, the fear of the San Andreas is nothing compared another fault nearby.
The Hayward fault.
So...where is it?
The Hayward fault runs 52 miles through the most populated areas of the Bay Area, through cities like San Pablo, Hayward, Oakland, Berkeley. More than 2 million people live directly on top of the fault.
A recent U.S. Geological Survey report estimated that IF a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit along that fault, more than 800 people could be killed and tens of thousands injured. In addition, fires created as a result of the quake could level more than 50,000 homes and kill or injure thousands more.
They call it the "HayWired Scenario", and the scary part is, even with California's very strict earthquake building standards, it's not enough to protect those that live there, or nearby.
According to the L.A. Times:
"The HayWired scenario envisions a scale of disaster not seen in modern California history — 2,500 people needing rescue from collapsed buildings and 22,000 being trapped in elevators. More than 400,000 people could be displaced from their homes, and some East Bay residents may lose access to clean running water for as long as six months."
USGS earthquake geologist emeritus David Schwartz told the L.A. Times that the fault is overdue for a large quake, because.....it's been 150 years since there has been a significant quake on it.
“This fault is what we sort of call a tectonic time bomb. It’s just waiting to go off. Even given the uncertainties, we are definitely closer to the next one than we are away from it. You can’t hide — there’s really going to be very little places in the greater Bay Area that won’t be affected."