East Bay Fault Is ‘Tectonic Time Bomb,’ More Dangerous Than San Andreas, New Study Finds

The San Andreas long has been the fault many Californians feared 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 make matters worse, said geophysicist Ken Hudnut, the USGS’ science adviser for risk reduction.

“This fault is what we sort of call a tectonic time bomb,” USGS earthquake geologist emeritus David Schwartz said. “It’s just waiting to go off.”

The Hayward fault is so dangerous because it runs through some of the most heavily populated parts of the Bay Area, spanning the length of the East Bay from the San Pablo Bay through Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, Fremont and into Milpitas.

Out of the region’s population of 7 million, 2 million people live on top of the fault, Schwartz said, and that proximity brings potential peril. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was centered in the sparsely populated Santa Cruz Mountains. For all the devastation of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, it was centered off the coast in the Pacific Ocean.

As the potential hazards of the fault have become clearer in recent years, officials have begun to take action. Old city halls in Hayward and Fremont have been abandoned because they lie on the fault. At Memorial Stadium at UC Berkeley, seating was recently broken up and rebuilt so that the facility’s western half could move 6 feet northwest from the other side. In the hypothetical earthquake scenario, half of Memorial Stadium moves 2 feet northwest during the main earthquake, another foot over the next 24 hours, and yet another foot or so over the next few weeks or months, Hudnut said.

Despite taking such precautions, much of the region remains vulnerable, experts said.

The so-called HayWired scenario envisions a scale of disaster not seen in modern California history — 2,500 people needing rescue from collapsed buildings and 22,000 being trapped in elevators, Hudnut said. More than 400,000 people could be displaced from their homes, and some East Bay residents may lose access to clean running water for as long as six months.

The report found that a major East Bay quake also would outmatch California’s minimum building codes, which are designed only to keep most structures strong enough to enable people to safely evacuate. Even if all of the 2 million buildings in the greater San Francisco Bay Area complied with the modern-era building code, a HayWired scenario earthquake would cause 8,000 structures to collapse, 100,000 to be red-tagged — meaning they’re too damaged to enter — and 390,000 to be yellow-tagged, meaning occupancy is limited due to significant damage, said Keith Porter, a University of Colorado Boulder research professor who coordinated the HayWired report’s engineering section.

In some respects, the Haywired scenario would be at least 10 times as bad for the Bay Area as the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake, despite the similar magnitude. The 1989 earthquake is blamed for about 60 deaths and produced $10 billion in damage; the HayWired scenario envisions $82 billion in property damage and direct business losses; fire following the earthquake could add $30 billion more.

A Hayward fault earthquake could trigger significant aftershocks on other faults for up to half a year after the main shock. In the HayWired scenario, a large aftershock comes nearly six months after the main quake — a magnitude 6.4 close to Cupertino, the home of Apple’s headquarters, followed in close succession by a magnitude 6.2 temblor near Palo Alto, a key city in Silicon Valley, and a 5.4 back in Oakland.

The Hayward fault is one of California’s fastest moving, and on average produces a major earthquake about once every 150 to 160 years, give or take 70 or 80 years. The last major earthquake on the Hayward fault, a magnitude 6.8, will see its 150th anniversary on Oct. 21.

“Even given the uncertainties, we are definitely closer to the next one than we are away from it,” Schwartz said recently, while showing off the giant crack in the floor of the Fremont Community Center — built on the Hayward fault — that has slowly grown since it was built in 1962.

Strong shaking won’t affect the East Bay only, but also will be felt in San Francisco and places like the San Ramon and Livermore valleys. “You can’t hide — there’s really going to be very little places in the greater Bay Area that won’t be affected,” he said.

The location of the Hayward fault is so well known to geologists because in certain parts of the East Bay, it creeps along, moving slowly between earthquakes. That releases some of the seismic strain accumulating on the fault as the Pacific plate slides northwest relative to the North American plate, but not the lion’s share.

Those close to the actual fault rupturing in the HayWired scenario may experience shaking strong enough to flip over a grand piano, seismologist Lucy Jones said. That’s why it’s a mistake for Californians to think that their home or business is fine if they survived the 1989 Loma Prieta or 1994 Northridge earthquake, neither of which was directly underneath a densely populated area with many old buildings.

“If you’re right on top of the earthquake, it’s really a lot worse,” Jones said. “What you had in Oakland in Loma Prieta is much less shaking than you’re going to get in this one.”

The HayWired report has been more than four years in the making, and federal scientists say they hope spelling out the science of what could happen in a plausible earthquake will help inspire people to get prepared.

With decades passing since the 1989 earthquake, “some amount of complacency is to be expected, and it’s the same in L.A. after Northridge,” Hudnut said. But “it’s not OK to forget. We have to remember,” he said.

Few people in the Bay Area know exactly where the fault is located, even in busy neighborhoods like Hayward’s downtown.

On a recent weekday morning, two women who said they routinely bring their children to a park next to the abandoned Hayward City Hall on Main Street had no idea that it had been closed because it was slowly being ripped apart by the Hayward fault. There are no markings showing the path of the fault, and kids routinely run up to touch the building.

“If it crumbles, that’s really scary,” said Melanie Koloto, there with her 6- and 8-year-old sons. “I think they should already have it blocked off, or try to get it knocked down.”

“At least have some kind of public safety meeting — a town hall or something — to say this is where it is, and this is the danger that comes along with sitting right on top of it,” said Katie Crystal, 32.

Signs of the fault are evident, according to Schwartz, who recently took a reporter on a tour. A bent curb and a bent building wall can be seen on the northeast side of Mission Boulevard between A and B streets. In the parking lot behind Favorite Indian Restaurant, a long bump in the asphalt shows the boundary line of the Hayward fault as the western side creeps to the northwest, and the other creeps to the southeast.

Schwartz said the fault continues in a northwesterly direction, which would point it through the property to the northwest — the St. Regis Retirement Center. The longtime owner, Gene Rapp, 80, said he was unconvinced, adding that he thinks a trench needs to be dug and studied for there to be a definitive conclusion.

“I don’t think a bump in the parking lot or a crack in the sidewalk means anything,” Rapp said in a telephone interview. “There’s only one way to know for sure. You have to dig a ditch. You can’t just look at broken concrete and jump to a conclusion. It might be a wild ass guess.”

Kīlauea Volcano Showing Signs of Increased Activity

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory observations and measurements of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone during the past month suggest that the magma system beneath Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō has become increasingly pressurized.

If this activity continues, a new vent could form at any time, either on the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō cone or along adjacent areas of the East Rift Zone.

The Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption continues to supply lava to the 61g flow and the lava pond within the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater.

As of April 13, 2018, geologists observed scattered breakouts from the 61g flow within about 1.4 miles from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and a sluggish breakout about 3.1 miles from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō.

Since mid-March 2018, a tiltmeter and GPS station on Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō have recorded a pronounced inflationary trend of the cone, and recent webcam images have detected simultaneous uplift of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater floor by several yards. These observations provide evidence that magma is accumulating at shallow depths beneath Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō.

On April 6, 2018, at 10:28 a.m., a partial collapse of the southern Overlook crater wall triggered an explosive event at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake. A large plume of gas, ash, and lava fragments was seen rising from the lava lake at the Jaggar overlook. The explosion threw debris onto the Halema‘uma‘u crater rim at the old visitor overlook, which has been closed due to ongoing volcanic hazards such as this explosive event. PC: USGS

Similar episodes of inflation and uplift of the crater floor at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō occurred in May and June 2014 and May 2016. These episodes preceded the opening of new vents on Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō that produced the June 27 flow (active 2014 to 2016) and the 61g flow (active since 2016), respectively.

Breakouts from the 61g lava flow are located close to Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and above the Pulama Pali within the Kahaualeʻa Natural Area Reserve (NAR) and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, respectively.

Because of volcanic hazards, the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources has restricted public access to the Kahauale‘a Natural Area Reserve since 2007. Areas within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are also closed.

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of March 14, 2018, is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of April 13 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tubes. The Kamokuna ocean entry is inactive. USGS map


A new vent located on the cone of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō would erupt lava flows onto one or more sides of the cone that would initially advance downslope rapidly within a few miles from the vent. Because of the potential for a sudden breakout anywhere on Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, the cone is extremely hazardous. The location of a new vent or potential lava-flow paths cannot be estimated until such time that a new vent forms and stabilizes.


Lava fountain erupts from the growing Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent during eruptive episode 8, five months after the eruption began; Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i.
The Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent began forming a distinct central-cone during episode 3 in March-April 1983. By the end of episode 4 in mid June, the main part of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō was a steep-sided spatter cone about 20-30 m high and 100 m wide. The cone was breached on the south side, through which lava spilled during subsequent episodes and fed flows that extended into the western part of Royal Gardens subdivision. At the end of episode 8, the cone was nearly 60 m (200 ft) above the pre-eruption ground surface.

Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone eruption began in January 1983 with high lava fountains that built a cinder-and-spatter cone, later named Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. Subsequent activity included continuous lava effusion from vents on Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō or within a few miles east or west of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. Most of the lava flows erupted from these vents have advanced down the south flank of Kīlauea, often reaching the ocean.

A new vent that opened on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō on June 27, 2014, sent a lava flow (informally called the June 27 flow) 20 km (12.4 miles) to the northeast and into Pāhoa, a town in the Puna District of the Island of Hawai‘i. This lava flow persisted until early March 2015, when all activity near Pāhoa ceased.

On May 24, 2016, the opening of a new vent on the east flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō led to the demise of the June 27 vent and flow, and sent a new lava flow (61g flow) south-southeast toward the ocean. The flow advanced about 10 km (6.2 miles), reaching the ocean on July 26, 2016. Lava stopped flowing into the ocean in early November 2017, after which surface flows have progressively retreated to near-vent areas above the Pulama Pali.

JUST IN: Recent Climate Summit Advocates ‘Natural Factors’

Last week the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History held a three-day Earth’s Temperature History Symposium that brought teachers, journalists, researchers and the public together to enhance their understanding of paleoclimate. During an evening lecture, Gavin Schmidt, climate modeler and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Richard Alley, a world-famous geologist at Pennsylvania State University, explained how scientists use Earth’s past climates to improve the climate models we use to predict our future.

Scientists have acknowledged what are the main natural factors that shape climate. They include volcanic eruptions whose ash blocks the Sun, precession of Earth’s orbit, solar minimum and maximum cycles, shifts in ocean and jet stream currents, sea ice, tectonic plates and mantle plumes, fluctuations of the ozone hole, and blasts of cosmic rays.

To know where you are going, you have to know where you have been. That is particularly true for climate scientists, who need to understand the full range of the planetary and atmospheric shifts in order to chart the course of future events.

Earth records climate changes in geologic layers such as fossil trees, fossil shells, and tree rings. The most valuable fossils found in sediment cores are from tiny animals with a calcium carbonate shell, called foraminifera. Foraminifera (forams for short) are single-celled protists with shells. Their shells are also referred to as tests because in some forms the protoplasm covers the exterior of the shell.

A large deposit of microfossils of plants and animals can also tell scientists about shifting ocean currents and jet stream. Ocean plants and animals use the nutrients at the surface of the ocean, die, and then carry the nutrients with them as they sink to the sea floor. Ocean cores hint at patterns of upwelling when one contains a particularly thick layer of microfossils, especially diatoms, from the same time. Since upwelling currents are largely driven by the wind, these patterns also tell scientists something about wind and weather patterns.


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Your assistance has always been at the core of this model, without you we fail. Below is an example of how Science Of Cycles keeps you tuned in and knowledgeable of what we are discovering, and how some of these changes will affect our communities and ways of living.

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BREAKING NEWS: Cosmic Rays Linked to Increased Mortality

The intensity of secondary cosmic rays reaching Earth is significantly correlated with mortality rates in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. That’s according to researchers in Brazil and the US.


Looking at data over the past 60 years, the team found that the mortality rates for all diseases they identified were slightly, yet significantly, greater during periods of diminished solar activity, when cosmic rays are more intense, and slightly lower during heightened solar activity, when cosmic rays are less intense.

The link was stronger than the researchers expected. “I believed we could find significant results but we got surprised,” said Carolina Vieira of the University of São Paulo. Their results have been published in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters.

Cosmic rays consist of charged subatomic particles, mostly protons, but also helium nuclei and other particles – travelling near the speed of light, with energies upwards of 1 MeV. Originating mainly in the remnants of supernovae in our cosmic neighborhood, they collide with gas molecules in our atmosphere, generating a cascade of secondary rays that can penetrate materials, including the human body.

Matter and electromagnetic fields emitted by the Sun partially protect us from cosmic rays. But the Sun’s activity rises and falls in an 11-year cycle, which means the intensity of secondary cosmic rays on Earth also follows 11-year cycles. Currently, the Sun is approaching a minimum in activity.

More locally, the intensity of secondary cosmic rays rises with latitude and altitude, so that in a city such as São Paulo, 23 ° south of the equator and 800 m above sea level, doses of secondary cosmic rays reach 0.2 nano-sieverts a year. For comparison, the International Commission for Radiological Protection allows uranium miners to receive 10,000 times more radiation a year.

“Although [the value for secondary cosmic rays in São Paolo] may seem to be relatively low, our results show that typical variation of cosmic-ray exposures to susceptible individuals, possibly radio-sensitive individuals, can lead to a highly significant increase of total mortality and specific mortality rates,” said Vieira.

Vieira was motivated to look into the possible health effects of secondary cosmic rays after she heard that in 2008 some children in her son’s school in São Paolo caught scarlet fever; a year later, the world suffered a swine-flu pandemic based on the same H1N1 influenza virus as the infamous 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. The events led her to wonder whether there could be an environmental agent changing the DNA of microorganisms to re-introduce certain diseases cyclically. “I decided to research what was going on,” she recalled.

Vieira and colleagues analyzed the correlation between the annual flux of secondary cosmic ray-induced ionization and various mortality rates in São Paolo using data from the period 1951–2012. Multivariate linear regression allowed them to show that the cosmic-ray ionization was correlated with total mortality, infectious disease mortality, maternal mortality, and perinatal mortality rates, with a p value of less than 0.001 – a p value less than 0.05 being the traditional threshold for significance.

“Annually, ~336 total deaths may be attributed to [secondary cosmic-ray] exposure in the city of São Paulo,” the researchers write.

They do not yet know the mechanism by which secondary cosmic rays could increase mortality rates, and are considering alternative explanations for the correlation. Since 2015, Vieira and colleagues have also been studying the possible interactions of cosmic rays, air pollutants and human health in US cities.


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I can’t stop now, and need your help to keep us going. We truly are at the pinnacle as being one of the best able to absorb, reflect, gather the most important pieces research and new discovers – then to bring it forward in a manner that most fairly and well educated people can understand.

Your assistance has always been at the core of this model, without you we fail. Below is an example of how Science Of Cycles keeps you tuned in and knowledgeable of what we are discovering, and how some of these changes will affect our communities and ways of living.

I hope your find this research and the presented cutting-edge news of great interest. Please use our method of open-ended donations allowing you to present any amount you choose. There is no limit; whether it be 1 dollar or 1,000 dollars, it goes directly into our work process of accumulation, presentation, and delivery.  **on the banner below to begin this simple process.      Cheers, Mitch


Two Tornadoes Reported, 1 Person Killed As Strong Storms Cross NC; Flooding Still Possible

A line of severe weather spread across North Carolina on Sunday, bringing heavy rainstorms and two reported tornadoes that toppled trees and ripped apart homes in Greensboro and Reidsville. At least one person was found dead, according to news outlets in the Piedmont.

The Triangle saw heavy rain, gusts of winds and scattered power outages that affected thousands in Raleigh, Durham and Orange County, but no reports of tornadoes.

Emergency workers warned of potential flash floods and the ponding of water on roads.

Tornado watches had been extended throughout Sunday as fast-moving storms moved eastward across the state.

In Greensboro, the News & Record and WFMY TV described several areas that had damage from high winds, with much of it east of U.S. 29. At least seven homes were damaged, as well as a mobile classroom at an elementary school in Greensboro.

Trees were down, pulling power lines with them, making streets impassable in some places. One death was reported in Greensboro.

The National Weather Service in Raleigh reported that a tornado was spotted near U.S. 29 and East Gate City Boulevard in Greensboro in Guilford County at 5:15 p.m.

All public schools in Guilford are closed on Monday.

Hawaii Storm Strands Dozens At Red Cross Evacuation Shelter

LIHUE, Hawaii – Dozens of people are stranded at a Red Cross shelter on Kauai after a storm dropped over 2 feet of rain, causing massive flooding and grounding rescue helicopters.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation for the island where heavy rainfall damaged or flooded dozens of homes in Hanalei, Wainiha, Haena and Anahola.

About 40 people – mostly tourists – were stranded Sunday at Hanalei Elementary School, where the American Red Cross had opened an evacuation shelter. They briefly ran out of food and water.

Coralie Chun Matayoshi, chief executive officer of the Red Cross in Hawaii, said the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation offered to deliver food to the evacuees by personal watercraft, but a nearby business was also dealing with flooding and unable to provide the supplies to be delivered. The Hawaii Guard offered to deliver food by air, but the weather kept the helicopters grounded.

Officials will continue rescue efforts when the weather improves.

The Kauai Fire Department was coordinating with the Coast Guard and the Honolulu Fire Department to provide air and search and rescue operations on the North Shore.

The National Weather Service recorded almost 27 inches (68 centimeters) of rainfall in a 24-hour period in Hanalei.

Kauai County spokeswoman Sarah Blane said county officials had to call in off-duty firefighters, police officers and lifeguards Saturday night to rescue about a half-dozen people who were trapped by rising floodwaters in Hanalei.

The American Red Cross opened evacuation shelters at Kapaa Middle School, the Church of the Pacific in Princeville and at the elementary school.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Vanuatu Volcano Eruption Intensifies Covering Ambae Island In Ash And Smoke

The active volcano on Vanuatu’s Ambae island has once again begun spewing out ash and harmful smoke, and Vanuatu’s government is now looking into acquiring land to permanently resettle the island’s 13,000 residents.

The future of the people of Ambae has been under threat since late last year when eruptions from the Manaro volcano prompted an island-wide evacuation.

While residents were allowed to return to their homes after the volcano stabilised, ashfall has remained a problem and for the past three weeks the government has been in negotiations to relocate the worst affected villages in west Ambae.

Government spokesman Hilaire Bule said a shift in wind direction brought on by Tropical Cyclone Hola last month has dramatically increased the impact of the ashfall.

With the deluge of volcanic debris spreading across the island, the case for permanent relocation of the entire population has become stronger than ever.

The government is meeting with chiefs from the nearby islands of Maewo and Pentecost to discuss the possibility of acquiring land for resettlement.

Mr Bule said evacuation is not mandatory for Ambae residents, however that could change in coming weeks.

“If people want to leave the island it will depend entirely on the people of Ambae, but it is not compulsory,” he said.

Photos from Ambae showed villages and forests covered in a heavy layer of ash, food gardens destroyed and water sources polluted.

The humanitarian organisation Rotary International recently spent more than $450,000 upgrading the island’s hospital, and they have stepped in to help in the current crisis.

Chairman of Rotary District 9910 on Norfolk Island, Lindsay Ford, said against the backdrop of massive crop loss and contaminated water supplies, they have arranged for 400 refillable 20 litre fresh water containers to be dispatched to Ambae.

The extent of the ashfall has raised concerns about the health risk to residents, and Mr Ford said he had received reports of people dying.

“We’ve been notified that four people have died on the island in the last couple of days as a result of the volcano and the acid rain,” he said.

“There wouldn’t be any more edible crops on the island, the ash has affected all drinking water.”