Medicine

Strong natural disaster likely to cause heavy losses to San Francisco Bay Area

Strong natural disaster likely to cause heavy losses to San Francisco Bay Area

If the fault were to erupt - and it is only a matter of time until it does - the US Geological Survey estimates the toll would include at least 800 killed, 18,000 injured, 400,000 displaced and 52,000 homes destroyed.

The Hayward Fault was named California's "tectonic time bomb" in 2007 by seismologist Tom Brocher, due to the growing risk for 2 million Bay Area people that live above it. Emergency workers would be overwhelmed with more than 22,000 people requiring rescue from stalled elevators.

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

The buildup of pressure along the northern San Andreas fault in the 1800s produced a series of magnitude 6.0 or greater earthquakes, eventually leading to the 1906 magnitude 7.8 San Francisco Earthquake.

Damage from the main shock and factors such as fires and utility outages could displace about 411,000 people. The estimated total financial loss would be about $82 billion.

Hundreds more could die from fire following an natural disaster along the 52-mile fault.

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United States geological survey (USGS) calls it a "tectonic time bomb" and warns that this is one of the most active and risky faults in the United States.

Researchers are concerned that the last large quake along the Hayward Fault was in October 1868.

The Hayward fault is relatively active, with a major quake every 150 years or so (give or take 75 years).

The San Andreas long has been the fault many Californians feared the most, having unleashed the great 1906 quake that led to San Francisco's destruction 112 years ago Wednesday.

In a separate study from the US Geological Survey (USGS), seismologists called the Hayward Fault a "tectonic time bomb".