Coalition Describes How 7.0 Quake In East Bay Could Kill Hundreds

April 19, 2018 8:00 am · 25 comments

If an earthquake larger then the 6.9-magnitude 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake struck directly below the city of Oakland on the Hayward fault line late this afternoon, what kind of havoc would it wreak?

Roughly 2,500 people could get trapped in the rubble and require rescue. An estimated 800 could die and another 18,000 could be severely injured in a scenario presented today by the Haywired Coalition, which includes more than 50 public agencies and institutions like the University of California at Berkeley.

Earthquake experts at the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory say that human costs aside, this narrative would also lead to massive and widespread damage to infrastructure as well as private and public property as tremors spread out along 52 miles of the fault line between San Pablo and San Jose.

Gas and water lines could rupture, burning roughly 152,000 households in as many as 400 different blazes that fire departments may not be able to fight effectively, displacing an estimated 410,000 residents in an already hyper-competitive housing market.

Approximately 8,000 buildings would be destroyed, with 100,000 more left unsafe to occupy.

Expected damage to major freeways and bridges could take more than a year to fully repair, complicating efforts to move people, supplies and equipment during the early days after the quake and long afterward.

The Haywired Coalition says this scenario is not intended to scare the public. Rather, they’re trying to help us better understand the risks posed by a major earthquake and build the Bay Area’s capacity to respond and recover from such an event.

Bay Area residents are advised to keep emergency supply kits at home and at work, to secure large appliances and top-heavy furniture to walls and avoid hanging anything heavy above where they sleep.

They also recommend backing up data, creating an emergency plan and consulting with a professional to make sure places of residence are structurally sound.

A comprehensive list of personal home safety suggestions and resources for building community resilience is available online at

Aesop April 19, 2018 at 8:13 AM

Here we go again, the boy who cried wolf.

Sign from Above April 19, 2018 at 9:03 AM

Hardly crying wolf! While we may not like to hear it, anyone who’s lived in California for long knows it’s coming. There’s no doubt about that. The question is WHEN will it hit. Most people plan for earthquakes and other disasters right after they occur. Then, as time goes by, those plans go by the wayside. I’m guessing that someone that says “crying wolf” would be someone that has not prepared. Denial will not help you through the aftermath!

Wage Slave April 19, 2018 at 11:45 AM

Your comment is dangerously misinformed. We get complacent because large earthquakes on any given fault are not common in the span of a human lifetime. Since we hear the warnings every year, and it doesn’t happen, we figure it is all hype. The science of this is absolutely clear, though. The fault us active, it is partially locked, and it hasn’t ruptured since 1868. It will go at some point, and when it does, it is going to be a very bad day. (Google the 1868 earthquake. It was the “big one” until 1906)

Crossing the fault are freeways, BART, and gas water and electrical lines. The Caldecot tunnel is like a quarter mile east of the fault. It runs near reservoirs and close to large tracts of reclaimed land that will experience liquifaction. There will be landslides and fallen trees, especially if it occurs in the wet season.

Take it seriously, it will be too late to stash water and food when it does happen. Think if all the people after Katrina that had no supplies and were desperate for rescue. Don’t be those people.

Be gentle April 19, 2018 at 8:17 AM

Ok! Get prepared. Now let us take care of each other now when there are no disasters! Then we will be really repaired.

Venice April 19, 2018 at 9:23 AM

IF, IF, IF, that SCENARIO occurred …………….????????
If pigs could fly – We would need to wear hardhats and raincoats.

How to make money: Prepare a report stating the obvious, convince some local government fool that it’s meaningful, and collect your fee?

“This scenario is not intended to scare the public” Bwahahahahahaha!
Try to buy quake insurance now but be ready for the shock of your life.

Taggit April 19, 2018 at 9:24 AM

While I believe in being prepared, we had a 6+ here and we didn’t die. Didn’t even break stuff.

CalOldBlue April 19, 2018 at 10:18 AM

The Richter Scale is logarithmic, not scalar. That means a 7 is 10 times more powerful than a 6. Wikipedia can be your friend; note the step up in damage between a 6-class and a 7-class shaker.

6.0–6.9 Strong Damage to a moderate number of well-built structures in populated areas. Earthquake-resistant structures survive with slight to moderate damage. Poorly designed structures receive moderate to severe damage. Felt in wider areas; up to hundreds of miles/kilometers from the epicenter. Strong to violent shaking in epicentral area. 100 to 150 per year

7.0–7.9 Major Causes damage to most buildings, some to partially or completely collapse or receive severe damage. Well-designed structures are likely to receive damage. Felt across great distances with major damage mostly limited to 250 km from epicenter. 10 to 20 per year

8.0–8.9 Great Major damage to buildings, structures likely to be destroyed. Will cause moderate to heavy damage to sturdy or earthquake-resistant buildings. Damaging in large areas. Felt in extremely large regions. One per year

9.0 and greater At or near total destruction – severe damage or collapse to all buildings. Heavy damage and shaking extends to distant locations. Permanent changes in ground topography. One per 10 to 50 years

Wage Slave April 19, 2018 at 11:57 AM

The Napa quake was relatively short and not as large. Even given its shaking intensity, if it had gone on for another 30 seconds or longer, as it would if it had been a 7, the damage would been much more extensive. It also ruptured south to north, focusing most of the energy away from the Bay area.

The Napa quake ruptured something like inches, maybe doubling with after-creep. I want to say it was around a foot total at the most. A Haward large quake could be something like 6 to 8 feet.

Taggit April 19, 2018 at 2:07 PM

The structural engineers in academia dictating, developing, and testng earthquake engineering standards worked in a building, Davis Hall, on the UC campus in the 1980s that was not earthquake safe. That is how worried the experts were about earthquakes.

The amount of shake also depends on the type of fault and how deep it occurs in the earths crust. A 7 at the surface is likely to be more damaging than one at depth. The Richter Scale is not a predictive tool. Rather it is an after-the-fact measurement of the event. The 6+ we experienced in Clayton felt much stronger than the Loma Prieta years later. Neither did any damage here. Rattled some dishes but that’s about it.

It's Me April 19, 2018 at 9:38 AM

Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Wiggle & Shake April 19, 2018 at 9:51 AM

Quick, unbuild everything!

concord ygnacio April 19, 2018 at 10:10 AM

Scare tactics. What do you think this area is? Haiti? LOL. New standards have been implemented since the Loma Prieta and Northridge earthquakes.

And we are safe in Claycord as we are NOT on the Hayward Fault!

Wage Slave April 19, 2018 at 11:49 AM

Look up the computer models for shake intensity for estimated Hayward fault earthquakes of 7.1 or so. We will experience intense shaking here. Recall how intense Loma Prieta was, and then consider the quake will be larger and much closer.

Take this seriously, it will happen at some point.

concord ygnacio April 19, 2018 at 10:13 AM

BTW, if my personal contents, like my laptop, are damaged in my car in an earthquake, does my renter’s policy cover that if I do not have an earthquake policy? I only ask since cars are not allowed to have earthquake insurance (or flood insurance for that matter).

Wrigleygum April 19, 2018 at 10:24 AM

It’s gonna be huge and epic and most people will die when the bay area is in rubble.
Carry a gun in your earthquack pack, so you can end your life instead of laying in rubble till you die.

Simonpure April 19, 2018 at 10:54 AM

Talk about a pity pot

ChuckStir April 19, 2018 at 11:16 AM

If anyone that has lived in the Bay Area for a number of years and has not prepared by now its not likely they ever will.

Wrigleygum April 19, 2018 at 12:00 PM

I’ve been listening to the experts for 55 years saying the big one will hit in 10 years. Some said in the 60s it hit in 50 years…

I seriously doubt a major earthquake will hit Ca I our lifetimes, and I’ve been saying that all my liftime…

Earthquakes, liberals, Brown and Democrats running state, poverty worst state in nation kinda wonder why anyone stays here… We aren’t, we’ve decided to leave the state.
Can has become the laughing stock, now we can laugh from the outside now.

Willis April 19, 2018 at 12:21 PM

Lead sponsor is PG&E. Wonder if they have shares in earthquake insurance companies.

Dawg April 19, 2018 at 12:42 PM

Brought to you by your friendly homeowners insurance.

SF oh April 19, 2018 at 2:31 PM

Good to be prepared but no guarantee you’ll be home, next to your earthquake kit, when a quake occurs. If you live here there’s a possibility you’ll be in an earthquake. If you live elsewhere you are subject to tornados, or floods …. whatever. I’ve been hearing these scary predictions since I was a kid. The Big One was going to hit San Francisco or LA, or the San Andreas. But the most likely next major quake would be in a city called Parkfield (or something like that). So far. California is still standing. Been hearing these predictions for 50+ years. I’ll listen, prepare as much as I can…. but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

CalOldBlue April 19, 2018 at 6:47 PM

No, most likely the next big one will NOT be in Parkfield. Parkfield sits on a portion of the San Andreas where it constantly ‘creeps’, thus constantly relieving the tension through a constant series of small tremors. It is places where creep is NOT taking place, where the tension is building to the point where a hundred or two hundred years of suppressed ‘creep’ lets go all at once that things get messy.

SF oh April 19, 2018 at 8:53 PM

My post was poorly written. I was not predicting a quake in Parkfield. My intention was to list all of the places that the experts have predicted a devastating quake to occur. I’ve been hearing quake predictions for years.

Steve Nickerson April 19, 2018 at 4:08 PM

What if a magnitude 10.9 species killing Earthquake
Slammed the Hawain islands creating a 226′ tsunami killing
Everyone ? By the way, I have some boats for sale.

Get Off My Lawn April 19, 2018 at 6:20 PM

Can I get a job where I publish studies of the blatantly obvious like it’s news? My studies could explain how people would die if Concord was hit by a nuke, or an asteroid. Also, floods can lead to water damage and fires can be destructive to property.

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