SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — On the anniversary of San Francisco’s 1906 Great Quake, U.S. Geological Survey researchers have released a study predicting the apocalyptic death and destruction that would be inflicted upon the Bay Area by a 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault.
Researchers said they chose the Hayward Fault because of the inevitability of a major quake striking it and because it runs through a densely populated urban area in the East Bay.
“The fault is along the east-bay side of the San Francisco Bay and is among the most active and dangerous in the United States,” the report stated.
In the study’s scenario, the quake would strike at 4:18 p.m. with a strong shock being felt the length of the Hayward Fault for about 52 miles. Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro, Alameda, Richmond and Hayward would be hard hit.
The quake would create liquefaction in areas along the Bay that have been created by fill and trigger landslides in the Oakland hills. Aftershocks would rumble through the area for years with Santa Clara County getting the biggest jolt measured at 6.4.
Researchers estimated that 800 people would be killed with another 18,000 suffering injuries. Local first responders would be facing more than 2,500 rescues from collapsed buildings. Thousands more would be trapped in elevators.
There would be a major disruption of the water supply ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months. Ruptured gas lines would spark more than 400 fires and more than 52,000 single family home fires would overwhelm local firefighters.
When the dust would settle, the quake would have inflicted more than $82 billion in damages.
Officials on Wednesday held tours in certain areas of the East Bay that would be impacted by a quake on the Hayward Fault.
Memorial Stadium at the top of the UC Berkeley campus has the Hayward fault cutting right through the football field.
But it’s up in the stands where you see how the stadium’s 2010 retrofit built gaps into the north end zone bleachers — where the fault runs — and expansion joints bridging the two sides of the stadium in section x.
“The fault rupture zone happens right down here,” said UC Berkeley Director Shannon Holloway. “On this side is one independent structure and on the other side of this joint is a totally separate independent structure.”
In a big quake, the two sides should move independently to minimize damage.
“The Berkeley campus is one of the only campus in the country and probably the only campus in the world to be built right on a fault,” said Holloway.
The tour at Memorial Stadium was part of a day-long earthquake awareness event put on by the USGS called “Haywired.”
The event was aimed at calling attention to the high likelihood and deadly consequences of a major earthquake on the 52 mile-long fault.
“This scenario is at least ten times worse than Loma Prieta in 1989,” said David Applegate with the U.S. Geological Survey.
USGS officials also warned that the aftershocks following a major seismic event could be just as deadly as the initial temblor.