The Hayward Fault is a major fault line that runs through the East Bay region of California. It is one of the most dangerous faults in the United States. There is over a 30% chance that it will rupture in the next 30 years. This 74-mile-long fault line is called a “tectonic time bomb!” If a massive earthquake were to hit the Hayward Fault Zone today, it would have devastating consequences.
Tectonic Time Bomb!
The earthquake would likely be a magnitude 6.7 or greater, and it could cause widespread damage and loss of life. Some of the most heavily populated regions of the Bay area sit on the fault zone. The region has roughly a population of 7 million. Out of that, over 2 million people live on top of the fault zone! Hundreds, thousands, or maybe even millions will die from a Hayward shake.
“This fault is what we sort of call a tectonic time bomb. It’s just waiting to go off,” says USGS earthquake geologist emeritus David Schwartz.
Memorial Stadium at UC Berkeley in Halves!
The popular Memorial Stadium at UC Berkeley is also located along the Hayward Fault. If the surface ruptures from a massive earthquake, the stadium will get ripped apart into two parts. Those halves will move away from each other. Pretty wild to imagine right?
Some scientists suggest that this could be even more disastrous than the San Andreas fault. Scientists also expect many aftershocks after the main earthquake. Those aftershocks can last for about 6 months! Surprisingly, it will not just impact the Hayward zone but also the other fault lines as well.
Buildings would collapse, and roads and bridges would be damaged. Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Richmond, Castro Valley, Union City, and Berkeley are some of the regions that are under major threat. Thousands and Thousands of people will be displaced from their homes. Power and water lines would be cut. It will take months to restore things back to normal. People could have to go through some devastating impacts if an unfortunate earthquake hits.
“The Hayward Fault is probably one of the most hazardous faults in the country, and the reason is that it passes through the most highly urbanized part of the Bay Area,” says David Schwartz.
Triggering Hundreds of Fires & Landslides!
The earthquake could also trigger landslides and liquefaction, which would further complicate the rescue and recovery efforts. The earthquake along the Hayward Fault is likely to cause over 400 fires. The fires would damage the water supply and would rupture the underground sewage systems. The water ways will be severely contaminated if this ticking bomb goes off.
The economic impact of a major earthquake on the Bay Area would be immense. The region is home to many major businesses and industries, and an earthquake could cause billions of dollars in damage. The earthquake could also disrupt transportation and commerce, and it could take years to fully recover.
Thankfully, there are ways to prepare for a major earthquake in the Hayward Fault Zone. The government is also taking steps to mitigate the risk of an earthquake. USGS is also taking necessary steps to hopefully identify any sign of an earthquake hitting.
The Hayward Fault is a major fault line that runs through the East Bay region of California. It is one of the most dangerous faults in the United States. There is over a 30% chance that it will rupture in the next 30 years. The Hayward Fault is a ticking time bomb, and it is only a matter of time before it ruptures. When it does, the Bay Area will be in for a major disaster. It is important to remember that even the best preparations cannot fully eliminate the risk of a major earthquake.