Quake expert reveals which buildings in Bay Area are at greatest risk

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Seismologists think of earthquake faults as constantly having conversations and impacting one another.

So ABC7 News asked USGS scientist emeritus Ross Stein whether the two Ridgecrest shakers could potentially affect us here.

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"It's unlikely that anything in the Bay Area is going to be affected by the Ridgecrest earthquake and the reason is just distance. But there's a flip side to that story, and that is earthquake has stressed the faults around it. And one of those faults, the Garlock fault, connects to the San Andreas 200 miles away."

San Andreas and Hayward are the two faults that pose the biggest threat for us.

ABC7 news anchor Kristen Sze met with Stein, overlooking the San Andreas off I-280 in San Mateo County on Monday. He demonstrated with models what really happens to buildings during a big quake and why some reinforcement at the corners really stabilize the structure.

Stein explained that cities built on mudflats around the Bay will feel the most shaking in a major quake. He's created the Temblor app, which can assesses a home's risk based on location and age. We asked him which homes are most likely to collapse in a quake.

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"Any home where you step up two to three steps to go up the front door has a crawl space, and those crawl space are problems. And living over a garage they tend to be weak at the knees. Codes changed considerably in 1975, so if your home was built before then, it really needs work."

Stein says retrofitting could run as little as a few thousand dollars, depending on your type of building-- and there are state grants available to homeowners.
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