Earthquake Provides Early Morning Shake To Bay Area Residents


The city of San Francisco was awakened by a 4.5 magnitude earthquake in the early morning hours Thursday. The quake was felt in the entire region and for some areas, the effects lasted a full 10 seconds.

The center of the earthquake was north of the Claremont hotel located along the border that the city of Oakland shares with Berkley. The earthquake’s epicenter was too near to the feared Hayward fault which is known to be capable of producing much stronger quakes and lies beneath a densely populated portion of the bay area.

The Thursday morning earthquake was not thought to have caused major damage but Robert Sanders, United States Geological seismologist warns that some minor damage to older buildings may be discovered once daylight arrives.

The rumblings were felt at 2:37 a.m. and woke many from sleep. One San Francisco resident reported that the quake knocked pictures from the wall of their house.

The Hayward Fault runs a course beneath Hayward, Freemont, Berkley, and Oakland and is probably for a devastating earthquake once every 160 years with a margin of error of 80 years. The last major earthquake caused by the Hayward Fault was 150 years ago.

In 1868, a section of the fault measuring 20 miles ruptured and produced a 6.8 earthquake. More than 30 people lost their lives and the property damage was catastrophic.

The true danger of the Hayward Fault is its location directly beneath the urban center of the East Bay region. The fault is located directly under UC Berkley’s Memorial Stadium as well as the building that had once been home to Hayward’s City Hall.

In a sobering descriptive analysis on their website, the USGS characterizes the Hayward Fault as a ‘tectonic time bomb’ and explains that a rupture of this fault could not only cause long-term devastation to the area economy but could kill hundreds of people while rendering thousands homeless.

A report by David Schwartz, a USGS geologist, states that 2 million individuals live on top of the Hayward Fault. This is in addition to a large number of bay area infrastructures like the Bart system, as well as water, gas, and electrical systems.