Hazards and Preparedness
Major active faults such as the Hayward Fault are associated with many hazards. The most obvious hazard is that of large earthquakes, which induce ground shaking over a large area that can cause heavy objects to fall and windows to shatter, and can cause structural damage to buildings and bridges. Strong shaking and fault rupture can also lead to many other problems, including landsliding, liquefaction, fires, disrupted transportaion routes, broken water and gas pipes, downed electrical and phone lines, and many other dangerous conditions. The net effects of these are often more severe and more widespread than the damage directly caused by the shaking itself, and they complicate emergency response and clean-up.Faults, however, can also cause damage in much less noticeable and long term way through creep. The Hayward fault, for instance, moves at a rate of about 0.2 in. per year (about how fast your fingernails grow). If a building was unlucky enough to have been built on the fault, the fault will gradually warp and tear it apart.
To find out more about the potential hazards from an earthquake in the Bay Area, or about the specific area that you live in, the USGS has several great Google Earth maps that show: likeliness of a damaging earthquake, liquefaction likeliness, at risk areas, and potential hazards for our infrastructure. In addition, there are numerous documents on the State of California's Department of Conservation website that give lots of useful information.
- Official Maps of Earthquake Fault Zones throughout California
- Official Seismic Hazard Zone Maps throughout California
- Seismic Shaking Hazard Assessment
A few years ago, KQED made a short video about the Hayward fault, The Hayward Fault: Predictable Peril, and its potential hazards. It is very well done and showcases some of the potential hazards the East Bay faces, as well as gives a nice overview of the Hayward fault.
PreparednessThere are very simple things that you and your family can do to get ready in the case of a major earthquake. Taking the time now, can mean a major difference when the big one strikes. There are 3 main areas of preparedness.
- Make sure your house or apartment is retrofit to withstand the shaking from an earthquake
- Make sure that valuables and dangerous items are secure in your house and aren't likely to cause injury
- Create a Family Emergency Plan
Some more links to help you prepare: