HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- The Hayward Fault may be less well-known than the San Andreas Fault, but seismologists now call it a time bomb that could kill nearly a 1,000 people and injure tens of thousands more.
Scientists say they have a goal for us -- if we put their science to work and get prepared, they think we can outsmart disaster.
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"That's what these scenarios are all about. It take an incredible amount of effort across a wide range of expertise to try and make this hazards real before they happen," said Dave Applegate, Ph.D., USGS Associate Director for Natural Hazards.
The scenario they are playing out today is a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the Hayward Fault. About two million people live around it in the East Bay. They think at least 800 people would die. They call it a tectonic time bomb waiting to go off.
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"The last time when it ruptured in an earthquake was 1886, so that's a little bit out of people's memories. So the idea is we have had a lot of urbanization, a lot of population growth since then, so the idea is to raise awareness about how to prepare in the event that something could happen, said Ben Brooks, USGS Research Geophysicist.
Geologists say the magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Napa, while traumatic, would pale in comparison to a big one here.
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"The Hayward fault would unleash an energy release about 30 times bigger in this scenario, bisecting a heavily urbanized area where millions more people live. This scenario is at least 10 times worse than Loma Prieta 1989," said Ken Hudnut, Ph.D., USGS.
They say they have 594 research published papers. They say get your earthquake kit together and get to know your neighbors, which is a key during a disaster.
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