Major San Francisco Earthquake Could Cause 6000 Deaths, $8 Billion in Damage

David Schwartz geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, walks along the Hayward Fault in a parking lot in Hayward Calif. New research published in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday Oct. 19 201

"The size of an natural disaster that can occur on a fault depends on how long that fault is", Watt told Live Science. More than 60 people were killed and damaged the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge during this quake.

The Hayward Fault pass by closely populated neighborhood east of San Francisco.

But USGS scientists just discovered that two fault lines in the area are connected, which could make a Bay Area natural disaster much worse. This poses a double threat, since both could have the tendency to rupture at the same time. Using a specially designed acoustic instrument for underwater purposes, researchers were finally able to gather a significant data about the faults beneath the surface and created a new map that showed that another fault is running parallel to the Hayward fault so closely that if one could rupture it can trigger a rupture in another. However, a lesser-known fault joins it.

San Francisco is expected to be hit with a 6.7 magnitude or higher quake before 2032, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

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In the new study, Watt and colleagues estimated that if the two faults would rupture together along their entire length that spans 118 miles, the event could possibly generate up to a magnitude 7.4 quake. The researchers said that when this connected earthquake fault slips, this could lead to a major quake disaster with a magnitude of 7.4 earthquake. The new study, published in Science Advances, discovered where this meets the Rodgers Creek fault, beneath San Pablo Bay just to the north of the city.

If both rupture simultaneously, major destruction could result. By combining the underground images with magnetic analysis, the researchers concluded that the Hayward fault bends about 10 degrees to the right to connect smoothly with the Rodgers Creek fault underneath San Pablo Bay. "The two connect beneath the San Pablo Bay". It also passes through Berkeley and Oakland.

Over 2 million residents live along the fault and David Ponce, a geologist with the group, told Popular Mechanics magazine that major transportation, gas, water and electrical lines traverse the fault zone.

Even worse, such an natural disaster could come soon - there's usually 140 years between earthquakes on the Hayward fault, but the last quake along the line was 148 years ago in 1868, when a 6.8 magnitude quake killed 30 people.