Just As I Thought

Event nc40183076

It occurs to me that I might have had a fun career as a cartographer. I remember that as I kid, I was very good at maps and such, especially with those standardized tests that gave a reading of my spatial skills. Maybe that’s why I am so gleeful playing with Google Earth for hours on end. I’ve been loading up my placemarks with interesting sites, and I added quite a few to my San Jose sights folder last night.
This morning, we had a minor (so minor I didn’t notice it) earthquake yet again, but this time I sprung to action and plotted it on Google Earth, trying to divine where it was in relation to my house. And here it is!


The yellow line is a straight line between my house and the earthquake, which was 10.5 miles away. The red line is the Hayward fault, which is pretty much universally recognized as the most dangerous fault in the Bay Area — it’s the one that hasn’t broken in a very long time, and it’s assumed that when it goes, it’ll be a big one with incredible consequences.
The consequences mostly seem to be feared because of the amount of disregard given to this fault. The San Andreas, which runs along the west side of the Bay Area, mostly passes through mountainous areas. There is little built directly on the fault until you get up near Daly City, where housing developments are perched on it, along with what appear to be water or chemical storage tanks:


But this is nothing compared to what’s over on the east side of the bay. From San Pablo all the way down past San Jose, the Hayward fault is covered with buildings. Not just houses, but hospitals, emergency services, a BART tunnel, and a stadium.


Yes, the home of the Golden Bears is being pulled apart, slowly but surely:


Anyway. The San Andreas gets all the press, but the Hayward is where it’s all happening. Take a tour of the Hayward fault and see why it will be so disastrous when it breaks.

1 comment

  • Great. So I look at the house where we’ll likely be living when/if we move to the Bay Area, and it’s within only a few blocks of the San Andreas.

    It’s interesting that people automatically think of San Francisco when they think of earthquakes, yet San Francisco proper lies directly on neither of those two faults, but only snugly between.

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