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12 Aug

Scientists Say That The Big One Can Strike San Francisco Anytime

Everything You Need To Know About The Fault


San Francisco is famous for many things: The Golden Gate Bridge, Yellowstone Park, Alcatraz and PIER 39. But one of its lesser-known claims to fame is The Hayward Fault. The Fault has gained media attention recently because of a minor quake that happened in region in July 2015.

Since then, the Internet has been full of speculation that the next quake, a much more powerful one, is imminent. So what exactly is the Hayward Fault and how concerned should you be? Read on to find out more.


What Is The Hayward Fault?

The Hayward Fault is located on the east side of San Francisco Bay. It runs for seventy-four miles from San Pablo Bay all the way down to San Jose. You might have heard of the San Andreas Fault. This is the bigger brother to the Hayward Fault and the pair run parallel together. The San Andreas Fault is much longer.

It’s named The Hayward Fault after the Hayward area, where much of the fault runs through. As well as Hayward itself, the fault runs through other densely populated areas, including Richmond and Oakland.


What Happened?

In July 2015, an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 4 was recorded along the Hayward Fault line. Although it caused no major damage, geophysicists suggested that the Hayward Fault was long overdue a much more powerful earthquake.

This has stirred up fear amongst residents as the public surmise about when, rather than if, a quake is most likely to hit the region again.


Has It Happened Before?

The last quake recorded in the Bay area was in October 1868, where a quake measuring 7 on the Richter scale hit the region. The area was a lot less populated then, but thirty people still lost their lives and substantial damage was caused to buildings.


What Could Happen This Time?

Nowadays, an earthquake of the same magnitude would have much more severe consequences. The region’s population has increased significantly (estimated at around seven million people). There are also thousands of cars on the roads and a large amount of businesses operate in the area.

When the Hayward Fault does produce another earthquake on the scale of the 1868 one, the results will be catastrophic.


So What’s The Plan Of Action?

 The plan of action is typically very British. Simply, keep calm and carry on. If you’re planning on travelling to San Francisco, don’t let the threat of a quake put you off. Although a quake is due, there is no way of telling when it will actually hit.

As with any trip, ensure you are properly prepared, which means taking out worldwide travel insurance, taking photocopies of your passports and making sure family at home has copies of the hotel you’re staying in and the flights you’re taking.


How Concerned Should You Be?

As we said, there is no way of accurately predicting when an earthquake is about to happen. The best thing scientists can do is make assumptions according to the history of the fault and past experiences with other quakes in the region.

Recent research has suggested that there is a thirty-one per cent chance that the Hayward Fault will create an earthquake of significant magnitude in the next thirty years. Significant magnitude is classed as a quake measuring 6.7 or above on the Richter scale. This would be powerful enough to cause significant damage to buildings.

So, there is no need to change your San Francisco holiday plans after all. Go ahead and buy that new holiday outfit, order your dollars and look forward to a glorious holiday in the Golden Gate City!

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