Bay Area residents may have two more reasons to make sure they are prepared for the next major earthquake- the world’s most populated fault line (the Hayward) could be much more dangerous than previously thought.
Seismologists have discovered two of the Bay Area’s most dangerous fault lines are likely connected. Scientists have been debating the issue for decades, but new evidence shows strong likelihood that they are connected, and could trigger each other.
According to Watt’s new evidence, the 39-mile Rodgers Creek Fault that runs from San Pablo Bay north to Healdsburg, and the 60-mile long Hayward Fault, which runs from San Pablo Bay south to San Jose are probably linked. It was previously thought that the two faults were at least 2.5 miles apart. The areas directly above the fault would feel the most intense movement in an earthquake, but the entire Bay Area would feel anything larger than a tiny quake.
New evidence was brought to light by U.S. Geophysicist Janet Watt, using acoustic instrumentation above San Pablo Bay. According to Watt, the evidence is clearer than it’s ever been.
"We now have direct evidence that the faults come closer together in the bay and may be directly connected," says Watt. "It would be devastating for an earthquake to rupture at both those faults -- it'd be a very strong earthquake."
The geophysicist’s discovery may help forecast whether a big quake is on the horizon. More people live on the the Hayward Fault than any other fault line in the world, and the two could trigger a devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake if they ruptured together. That is more powerful than the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, which killed 62 people, injured 3,757, and cost $6-8 billion.
"If these two faults are connected then that means it would be easier for an earthquake to rupture from the Hayward to Rodgers or vice versa," says Watt.
It’s never been more important to have the essentials ready for the area’s next major earthquake. A bag under your bed, in your, office or car, and anywhere else you frequent is vital. Experts strongly suggest having food and water for a few days, a hand-crank radio for communication, first aid, tools and equipment, maps, and a plan for what to do in a quake.
The Earthquake Bag is the perfect solution to get covered now. It’s not worth the risk to wait any longer- every Bay Area citizen needs a bag in place, and they’ve made it easy to be prepared.
U.S. Geophysicist Janet Watt closed by saying "People in the Bay Area just need to be prepared that they live in earthquake country." We couldn’t agree more- it’s time we all had the basics in place.