It's Everybody's Fault
March 10, 2006 2:57 PM   Subscribe

"The Hayward Fault is locked and loaded. It is ready to fire at any time." The U.S. Geological Survey has a Google Earth-based "virtual helicopter tour" and other annotated views of The Hayward Fault. There's a 70% probability of a major earthquake hitting the San Francisco Bay Area before 2030, and Hayward is the most likely fault [PDF] for an earthquake (or is it?). Bad things will happen. Fortunately we're completely unprepared. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha (37 comments total)
Related: 3-D simulations of a magnitude 7+ earthquake, animated intensity maps, a photo tour, more photos, UC Berkeley's football stadium is built on the fault. The 1868 earthquake on the Hayward Fault did some entensive damage.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:57 PM on March 10, 2006

Well, based on my experience with Katrina, nothing will ever be done to prepare, people displaced by this disaster will be blamed for choosing to live in such a place, the president will claim ignorance of the potential destruction even as it is happening, the rescue efforts will verge on nonexistent, the people evacuated will still be without stable housing six months later, the insurance companies will refuse to pay, and FEMA will start refusing assistance, telling people (as they told my girlfriend a few days ago) "It's no longer an emergency because people aren't floating in the streets or stuck on their rooftops."

In the meanwhile, we will still have soldiers in Iraq.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:05 PM on March 10, 2006

God I love being a California native! So exciting! I live .2 miles from a major long-dormant fault and 8 miles from a nuclear power station.

C'mon, Fates! Bring some ammo you b*tches!!

Some people say I look great with a green glow...
posted by roguescout at 3:08 PM on March 10, 2006

Don't worry. Homeland Security has it all under control.

Freaky Coincidence Filter: My wife and I have both been having earthquake dreams lately. Me nearly every week. So we got all our kits ready and prepped. Including a mini-port-a-potty thing for the office. It's ridiculous.
posted by tkchrist at 3:15 PM on March 10, 2006

I went on a tour of the city of Hayward years ago as part of a junior college geology class and drove around looking at what the little splinter faults do to the streets, sidewalks etc. It was crazy. There wasnt a flat, uncracked road or sidewalk in the whole city. The ground underneath was just constantly, slowly buckling and shifting. Really cool. Was very glad after that I lived in the Sierras. Even more so after 1989.

'Course, they were sayin' pretty much the same "doom and gloom" 20 years ago, but then again, that aint squat to geologic time. Just waitin' on Mother Nature.
posted by elendil71 at 3:20 PM on March 10, 2006

elednil71 thinks they are safe in the Sierras...

May I direct you to this?

Yes! We have our own potentially-cataclysmic Yellowstone Mega Eruption as well!

WOOOHOOO! We are so blessed.
posted by roguescout at 3:24 PM on March 10, 2006

I wish I would have seen this excellent collection of links when I was living just around the corner for five years. Wait, maybe not. I traded places and the next vulcano eruption in Central Oregon will get me . . .
posted by nostrada at 3:25 PM on March 10, 2006

Well, based on my experience with Katrina, nothing will ever be done to prepare, people displaced by this disaster will be blamed for choosing to live in such a place, ...

And the Christians will say God destroyed the city to punish the homos.
posted by soiled cowboy at 3:31 PM on March 10, 2006

I live practically on the San Andreas. I'll be straddling it, Slim Pickens style when the big 'un comes.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:34 PM on March 10, 2006

Nostrada, here you go.
posted by Danf at 4:21 PM on March 10, 2006

Not if, but when!
posted by obloquy at 5:06 PM on March 10, 2006

After it happens all the remaining residents will demand billions in government assistance so they can rebuild on top of the fault.
posted by jfuller at 5:09 PM on March 10, 2006

UC Berkeley's football stadium is built on the fault.

Looking at the (awesome) Google Earth tour, you can see that the fault almost splits it in half. A game was apparently in progress when the satellite photo was taken - kind of drives the point home.
posted by Aster at 5:10 PM on March 10, 2006

yeah, great. i live about 1 mile from this fault, though my house is pretty solidly on bedrock. even a big quake probably wouldnt knock the house over.

but the article's point is well taken. the entire bay area is going to be seriously F'd by this event. oakland already has a crime problem that's spiraling out of control - this thing is going to make katrina look like nothing when the rioting starts.

i guess i should probably move.
posted by joeblough at 5:14 PM on March 10, 2006

Let's just hope Republicans aren't in office when this happens. They'll end up moving the entire population of California to, say, Fort Worth.
posted by wakko at 6:10 PM on March 10, 2006

My wife and I have both been having earthquake dreams lately. Me nearly every week.

Same here. I live in the center of SF. I was in my apartment in my dream, everything was as it should be, I woke up in bed (in my dream), the earth was shaking beneath me, I reached for the large brass floorlamp behind me so it wouldn't fall on my head. When it was over I went outside to look around; there were no visible signs of destruction, but a man on the street told me to get busy helping people. Then I overheard on the radio right-wing talk show hosts condemning California for already requesting federal emergency relief funds....
posted by bukharin at 6:21 PM on March 10, 2006

Errrr, that's like 2 blocks from my (rented) house, but I guess I knew that before. Home prices around here are still insanely high, so it doesn't look like the threat of earthquakes really scares anyone away. It's a boy-who-cried-wolf thing. I've been hearing threats of quake disaster for decades, and you just kinda tune it out and live your life. I'll tell you though, other than having bottled water and flashlights, nobody I know is prepared.
posted by tula at 6:42 PM on March 10, 2006

Don't worry. DHS's plan is to send in Special Forces and Marines to take back control (shoot) all the looting criminals (formerly citizens).

As you can see by the Katrina aftermath, no one will care or stop them.
This disaster in the makiking will be blamed on liberals, Democrats, and the Main Stream Media.

Mission accomplished.
posted by Balisong at 6:45 PM on March 10, 2006

makiking = making
posted by Balisong at 6:47 PM on March 10, 2006

This is freaking terrifying. That north-south simulation actually looks like my house in North Berkeley exploding in waves of red. Maybe we'll hold off on buying around here after all. Too bad, cause we were about to close on a sweet 800sf 1-bedroom for only $950,000.
posted by squirrel at 6:55 PM on March 10, 2006

Remember though, earthquakes are different from hurricanes in that you can't see them coming. So unlike with Katrina, you won't have a microcosmic version of "white flight" played out in the days preceding the Hayward event. (I mean, unless there is some kind of white-people-only quake radar that I'm not aware of =) I'm not saying that this will prevent rioting and disorder during the aftermath (nor am I implying that it is only non-whites who are responsible for rioting and disorder!), but with regards to the speed and scope of the response, I think this is a not insignificant fact. Of course, as a near neighbor to the Hayward fault, maybe I am just engaged in a bit of wishful thinking...
posted by idontlikewords at 7:10 PM on March 10, 2006

ps. squirrel I hope your comment about that "sweet" 800sf 1-bedroom was made in the same self-consciously cynical tone as my post =)
posted by idontlikewords at 7:13 PM on March 10, 2006

oh there wont be any "white flight" but there will be total chaos after the earthquake. the police can barely keep order in oakland right now as it is. its going to be a complete clusterf****.

note to my fellow local mefites: i have weapons and food. so come and join my militia after the quake.
posted by joeblough at 7:31 PM on March 10, 2006

My self linking proposal? Move the entire city of San Francisco to Freeport, FL.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:41 PM on March 10, 2006

joeblough, you're right... after reading the linked articles more thoroughly, I'm now pretty sure that greater numbers of affluent people in the area will actually make things worse, what with thousands of people "call[ing] to ask: 'Are we having an earthquake?'" and so on. Currently my (admittedly half-assed) plan is to jet "through the Caldecott Tunnel, which is expected to survive" as quickly as possible and put some distance between me and the inevitable shitstorm. Failing that, I'm all over the MeFi Militia! Just one question: Will there be punch and pie?
posted by idontlikewords at 7:46 PM on March 10, 2006

joeblough how long have you lived in Oakland out of curiosity? I went back there after a 10 year absence and I couldn't believe how much less crime ridden it is these days. People live in Fruitvale! I went to a party off of West Grand and not only did I not get murdered but the car wasn't stolen or set alight! That is some serious progress from the 90s right there.

My house will fall down in that earthquake for sure. Luckily it appears to have been built of string, small pieces of wood and bits of paper so it shouldn't hurt.
posted by fshgrl at 7:49 PM on March 10, 2006

Also I predict that this earthquake won't be as cataclysmic as everyone thinks. People here are used to natural disasters, and most importantly so is the state. The Bay has tons of docking facilities and major roads in and out so logistics will be easier and there are lots of nearby cities with facilities that won't be affected.

I also predict that it will happen just as soon as they get done retrofitting the Bay Bridge.
posted by fshgrl at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2006

Personally I'm hoping it happens right *before* they finish with the Bay Bridge so we can hang Ah-nuld in effigy from the giant gleaming central tower...
posted by idontlikewords at 8:03 PM on March 10, 2006

Whee! I'm living in an older hotel turned apartment building in downtown Oakland. I've always wondered how it would fare in a quake, but stupid enough, I believed the major fault zones were on the other side of the Bay!

Time to make a survival kit! Anyone got some links to good ideas aside from the water/flashlight/food/roll of cash?
posted by yeloson at 8:10 PM on March 10, 2006

well i have lived in oakland for 5 years now and long before that i lived in berkeley.

i know that things were bad in the 90s but recently things have taken a serious turn for the worse. for instance for about a month some guys were terrorizing people all over north oakland, pistol whipping them and robbing their cash. several people ended up in the hospital. near the end of their crime spree they comitted something like 20 of these armed robberies in 45 minutes along piedmont ave. then they were caught, and it turned out to be two 16 year olds and a 14 year old. that is a tragedy. clearly they were idiots and didnt know when to stop; i think in any other city they would have been caught in a week or so.

also the OPD's stated position about the MacArthur bart station: "don't go there at night. you will be attacked and there is nothing we can do about it."

recently there have been a lot of home burglaries in my neighborhood, including two home invasion robberies. supposedly the OPD doesnt even have enough detectives to investigate these crimes. they just take your statement and you never hear from them again.

the situation is pretty dire. supposedly the city has funds to staff 800+ police officers, but no one wants to work here, and we have something like 600. the city council thinks the solution to this problem is to make the existing officers work MORE overtime. great.

so you can see why i'm so optimistic about how things will go in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

no me gusta palabras: Oh Yes. There Will Be Pie. and Rrrrrrrummmm punch.
posted by joeblough at 8:47 PM on March 10, 2006

"After it happens all the remaining residents will demand billions in government assistance so they can rebuild on top of the fault."

You mean *trillions* I think. You're aware of our housing prices, right?

And joeblough - one of the bad things about the Oakland PD is that you're required to live in certain ZIP codes. I'm serious, check out their recruitment page.
I'd love to work for the Oakland PD, but I absolutely refuse to live up that direction.

So I'll just sit down here in the South Bay with my firearms and food & water stash. And hope that our ridiculous (and worthless) California gun laws don't manage to get any of us killed.
posted by drstein at 9:30 PM on March 10, 2006

i sincerely hope the oakland city council gets its collective head out of its ass and relaxes whatever rules they need to to solve this situation.

but... i'm sure we'll have a giant earthquake first.
posted by joeblough at 9:38 PM on March 10, 2006

People here are used to natural disasters, and most importantly so is the state.

That, and more importantly, we actually have a competent state government (when it comes to dealing with disasters). They tell us over and over to be prepared to last for up to 2 weeks on our own when the big one hits.

I've been through two 7+ magnitude quakes, a couple flashfloods and a few disastrous wildfires and have been blown away with the speed and efficiency at which our local and state government react. Having seen how good local governments handle disaster, I was appalled when I saw how helpless Louisiana was when it came to helping their own people. We've always been told the federal reaction would be slow and clumsy, so there were no surprises there.

Individual Californians are also better prepared, thanks to the constant education efforts. I don't know anyone who doesn't have a minimum 3 day supply of water and food on hand. We are way out in the sticks so we have everything we need to get by for about 30 days.
posted by buggzzee23 at 10:05 PM on March 10, 2006

Let's just hope Republicans aren't in office when this happens. They'll end up moving the entire population of California to, say, Fort Worth.

Relocating the population after a major quake will be one of the more difficult tasks. It will be even more difficult down here in the southern part of the state where the only major uninhabited space is open desert where the temps range from below freezing to the 120 degree range. I'm an old desert rat muself, but most people wouldn't find roughing it in the desert an enjoyable experience. Long distance relocation of millions of refugees will likely be the only choice.
posted by buggzzee23 at 10:14 PM on March 10, 2006

The freakout over a small trash fire in the BART tunnel yesterday has some people thinking that BART couldn't handle a real emergency.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:25 PM on March 10, 2006

St. Louis actually reinforced all the bridges here for earthquake a year or so ago. Some of the major buildings are getting it done too.

I'm cancelling my earthquake coverage. Allstate is fucking impossible to deal with and homeowner's insurance rates are ridiculous so we can pay off Katrina.

If an earthquake hits here and I'm still alive, I'll just pack up and move to Wisconsin or something.
posted by pieoverdone at 7:21 AM on March 11, 2006

Is there any way to pause the Google Earth helicopter tour? In such a way that when you un-pause it, it doesn't restart from the beginning all over again?

My machine is slow enough that in order to see details, I have to pause. But then I can't just keep going ...
posted by nickp at 12:31 PM on March 11, 2006

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