The San Andreas long has been the fault many Californians feared the most, having unleashed the great 1906 earthquake that led to San Francisco’s destruction 112 years ago Wednesday.
But new research shows that a much less well-known fault, running under the heart of the East Bay, poses a greater danger.
A landmark report by the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that at least 800 people could be killed and 18,000 more injured in a hypothetical magnitude 7 earthquake on the Hayward fault centered below Oakland.
Hundreds more could die from fire following an earthquake along the 52-mile fault. More than 400 fires could ignite, burning the equivalent of 52,000 single-family homes, and a lack of water for firefighters caused by old pipes shattering underground could cause some to emerge into conflagrations, said geophysicist Ken Hudnut, the USGS’ science advisor for risk reduction.
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