Bay Area earthquake could lead to massive loss of life and property

A new report from the United States Geological Survey predicts what devastating effects might come from a hypothetical major earthquake in a California fault. According to the report, if a 7.0 earthquake were to strike directly under the city of Oakland in the Hayward fault, the results could be catastrophic.

"When you build a city right on the fault, you get a lot more tremors than we do, so think," said CalTech seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones ABC News .

The Hayward fault, which runs under the heavily populated area of ​​the San Francisco Bay, is called one of the most active and dangerous. It produces a large earthquake on average every 150 years. The 150th anniversary of the last major earthquake will occur later this year. The USGS predicts a 33 percent chance of a major earthquake occurring due to the failure in 2043.

The USGS report indicates that if a major earthquake occurs today, it could cause up to 800 deaths and 18,000 injuries. The damage of the hypothetical earthquake could displace 77,000 homes, as well as tall buildings.

Fires due to broken gas lines or power lines dropped after a possible earthquake could be as devastating as the earthquake itself. According to the report, around a third of the damage to property was due to fires in this frightening scenario, which could eventually destroy up to 52,000 homes.

The report indicates that the number of people in danger could be reduced early warning systems that are currently under development. The reasoning of the report was not to scare anyone, but to spread awareness. Dr. Lucy Jones expects the message to show how the slight increase in construction costs could significantly reduce the number of damaged buildings in the event of a major earthquake.

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