“The reality is a major quake is expected on the [Hayward] fault ‘any day now.’”
Bay Area residents beware. Tom Brocher, a US Geological Survey Scientist, thinks such a quake is a very real possibility. In fact, the US Geological Survey (USGS) website describes how USGS scientists refer to the Hayward fault as a “tectonic time bomb.” But does anybody know the time it’s set to go off? Probably not. But just because we don’t know exactly when it can happen, we know that it could still happen at any time. That’s why the USGS and other organizations “are working together with new urgency to help prepare Bay Area communities for this certain future quake.”
You may have heard about the 4.0 earthquake that rattled the East Bay area in California last Tuesday at 2:41 in the morning, and was just one of many earthquakes commonly occurring around the bay area. It produced 13 aftershocks. Although these aftershocks were all very minimal, this fault has been quite an active geological threat. Brocher said they “keep a close eye on the Hayward Fault because it does sit in the heart of the Bay Area and when we do get a big earthquake on it, it’s going to have a big impact on the entire Bay Area.”
The last time the Hayward fault released a big quake was way back in 1868. There were thirty people killed and a lot of property damaged. But that was nearly 150 years ago, and the local population is now 100 times bigger than it was back then. How many more lives will be impacted when this next major quake does happen?
According to Brocher, major earthquakes along this fault system occur about every 140 years. And, just like the behemoth of the Cascaida subduction zone, we are overdue for a big one. Don’t worry, though. This most recent 4.0 quake will “not likely…have much of an impact…on the likelihood of a major earthquake occurring on the same fault.” Rather, Brocher (along with the rest of USGS) is merely stating that there’s an earthquake coming, and like it not (or believe it or not), you could be seeing it any time.
Speaking of time…did you notice the time when the latest Hayward fault quake hit? It was at 2:41 in the morning. So when I say “any time,” I mean that quite literally. You could see (or feel, rather) this earthquake any time of day, night, or, as we see here, in the wee hours of the morning. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually sleeping at that hour (I say usually, but with a newborn waking up every hour or two, chances are I’ll be awake no matter what time an earthquake hits).
Despite the concern of the “certain future quake,” as USGS calls it, they sent out a reminder tweet on Twitter stating that “although a Hayward fault quake CAN happen any time it does NOT mean it’s expected any day now.” So don’t worry, the Hayward fault quake is not destined to go off in the next day or two. Although it most certainly could, what they are stressing is the fact that, sooner or later, that fault line is going to produce a very violent earthquake. They just want you to be ready for it.
So, how does that impact you? Well, for starters, I do hope you will begin (or continue) preparing. Whether or not the Hayward fault quake happens tomorrow, the next day, or years after you move to the other side of the country, your earthquake kit will help you when you need it. And if not for an earthquake, you can most certainly use it for some other disaster, too (they’re versatile like that).
Because you could be sleeping during an earthquake, make sure to secure wall hangings, decorations, or anything else that could fall on you in the middle of the night should the shaking and quaking start. That being said, you might as well secure anything that could fall down in your house and become a danger. Pictures, bookshelves, and even kitchen cupboards should be secured.
While I understand that this news isn’t, well, new, it is still important that we be reminded of potential disasters so we can get our emergency prep together. Who’s really to say when this next big earthquake will strike? What I do know is, though, we all need to continue preparing, because sure as day (or night), if we aren’t prepared, that’s when the disaster will happen. So go on out, get yourself an earthquake survival kit, and be prepared for whatever big one hits your neighborhood.
How are you prepared for an earthquake? Let us know in the comments below!