It’s not exactly one of those feel-good Friday topics, but it is a reality of living in the Bay Area: earthquakes. And with the 140th anniversary of the 1868 Hayward Fault quake seven months away, and a recent history of major Hayward quakes every 140 years, the seismologists are out spreading the word.
A few precentages for Bay Area homes:
∙ Percent without earthquake insurance: >95
∙ Percent retrofitted to resist quake damage: <40
∙ Percent strengthened enough to remain habitable following “violent damage”: <10
And of course, a few of the requisite quotes:
“The biggest small-building hazard, all the experts agreed, will be from what they term “soft story buildings” – the kind where garages or storefronts occupy most of the ground floor and the heavier floors lie above, raising the odds of collapse. Houses like those, whose fragile underpinnings collapsed throughout San Francisco’s Marina district when the Loma Prieta quake hit just over 18 years ago, should be a warning sign for every building owner to retrofit, Brocher said. Unreinforced corner buildings, he said, are the most dangerous.”
“In San Francisco, said Keith Knudsen of the national nonprofit Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the downtown area south of Market, where well-engineered high-rises are rapidly filling the neighborhoods, would be particularly dangerous in a major quake because the low-lying filled land there is subject to liquefaction.
Those new buildings might well remain standing in the coming Hayward quake, he said, “but if the streets there settle by a couple of feet, those buildings will be isolated.””
And as much as we couldn’t resist the headline, we equally couldn’t resist the categorization.
∙ Next big quake could be worse than 1906 [SFGate]