K.S. Rajan (24 Oct 2011)
"Nervous about Earth Quakes"


 
 
Nervous about earthquakes? Marin & Contra Costa are your best bets

Yesterday’s dual tremors caused a few hearts to jump, including mine. I was in San Francisco during the afternoon and felt the first. While the evening’s aftershock was almost as strong as the afternoon shaker, it occured without notice back home in Marin. Many of my neighbors who had been in Marin all day felt neither and had no idea two earthquakes rattled the ground just 20+ miles over in the East Bay.
If you want to live in Bay Area or anywhere in California for that matter, the threat of earthquakes and the “BIG ONE” is literally unavoidable. However, there are some areas in the Bay Area that don’t have a fault line running underneath the city, where there could be potentially less damage and destruction from an earthquake compared to other regions of the bay.
The U.S. Geological Survey predicts that there is a 63% chance of the Bay Area being hit with an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 or more. That 63% is the sum of the individual probabilities of each of the major Bay Area fault lines letting out a shaker of 6.7 or more. From the USGS graphic below, the Hayward Fault (the cause of yesterday’s tremors) and Rodgers Creek Fault have the highest potential of blowing off some steam, at 31%. The infamous San Andreas fault, which was responsible for Loma Prieta and the 1906 quakes, has a slightly lower chance of producing a big one, at 21%. While a few faults traverse Contra Costa County, the faults there have low probabilities of causing the next “BIG ONE.”
What's your fault's chances of letting out the next big one?
The Association of Bay Area Governments, in planning for a regional disaster, have modeled what they expect the housing losses to be in the event of a large magnitude earthquake. With the Loma Prieta quake in 1989, Alameda and San Francisco counties were the hardest hit, where 3,284 and 9,202 housing units were deemed uninhabitable. If the 1906 quake was to repeat itself, while Marin and Contra Costa are expected to sustain losses, the numbers are not nearly as significant as for San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo or Santa Clara counties. If the Hayward fault decided to shake a little harder than yesterday, Contra Costa would have more homes destroyed while San Mateo county would fair much better.
What will the housing losses be in your area when the big one hits?
Maybe the high cost of Marin homes have a little earthquake premium built in. Have the Bay Area fault lines played a role in deciding where to live for you?
Posted By: Jenny Pisillo ( Email ) | Oct 21 at 9:30 am