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Over the weekend, a magnitude 3.6 earthquake struck along the Hayward fault in northern California, the fault that the U.S. Geological Survey has stated has a good chance of a major earthquake in the next 30 years.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the chances of an magnitude-7 earthquake hitting San Francisco from the Hayward Fault in the next 30 years stands at over 50%.
According to the HayWired Earthquake Scenario from USGS, roughly 8900 people would die and another 16,000 would be injured in the event of a seismic temblor over magnitude 7 while property and direct business interruption losses of more than $82 billion coulkd occur.
Seismologist Lucy Jones has estimated the probability of an earthquake hitting the Hayward Fault at 100%, “if you give me enough time.”
Earthquake engineering expert Keith Porter told USA Today, “It could happen tomorrow. … don’t know when… [but] it will happen.”
Over 22,000 people could require rescue from stalled elevators and another 2,400 people from collapsed buildings, USGS estimated, adding that the chances of an earthquake hitting San Francisco within the next 30 years rose to 72% if the earthquake measured 6.7 or greater and the probability of a 7.5 earthquake were 20%.
USGS also posited that the chances of an earthquake hitting Los Angeles in the next thirty years were 60% for an earthquake measuring magnitude 6.7, 46% for an earthquake measuring magnitude 7, and 31% for an earthquake measuring magnitude 7.5.
Every time an earthquake measures one whole number increase in magnitude, 32 times more energy is released. According to the USGS, “a magnitude 5.3 is a moderate earthquake, and a 6.3 is a strong earthquake.”
The last time a sizable earthquake occurred on the Hayward Fault was on October 21, 1868; it has been estimated at a magnitude between 6.8 and 7.2. According to scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, the average span between the last five major earthquakes on the fault was 140 years.
The Hayward Fault is part of the San Andreas Fault system — which serves as the point of connection between the North American and the Pacific tectonic plates — and travels from the Gulf of California to Cape Mendocino in the north.
According to the USGS, reports of being affected by the earthquake on the Hayward Fault over the weekend came from the East Bay, San Francisco and the San Francisco Peninsula.