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Major Earthquake On Hayward Fault Could Result In $170B In Property Damages

A building that collapsed in the Marina District of San Francisco during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

Over 2 million buildings would be at risk of damage or collapse following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the Hayward fault, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's HayWired Scenario. The USGS uses HayWired to create a hypothetical analysis of the impacts a major earthquake along the Hayward fault would have on the Bay Area and examines ways to address potential building and community vulnerabilities.

Using the data from HayWired, CoreLogic determined property damage could reach $170B. Commercial real estate could sustain $82B in damages, including $18B of insured losses. Aftershocks would result in $15B in damages from ground shaking, including $3.5B in insured losses. Over 1.1 million homes would sustain visible damages, according to the CoreLogic report.

The HayWired Scenario determined old steel-frame high-rise buildings and new reinforced residential buildings in Oakland and San Francisco would be unusable for up to 10 months. Following the main shock, over 77,000 households would be displaced, rising to 152,000 displaced households with fires and utility outages included.

Even after meeting current building codes, about 0.4% of buildings are expected to collapse, 5% could be unsafe and 19% would be restricted, according to the HayWired Scenario. Resilient buildings using more stringent building codes could lead to up to 95% of the region’s population remaining in homes and offices.

The Hayward fault is considered one of the most dangerous fault lines in the country and runs under the East Bay through an urban area populated by 7 million people.

In the next 30 years, there is a 72% chance of a major earthquake in the Bay Area, which seismologists expect will be much worse than the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which caused $5B in damages. There is a 31% chance that the Hayward fault will cause an earthquake of 6.7 or greater in the next 30 years.