for any injury, death, property damage, or other effects of an earthquake. CONTRIBUTORS: U.S. Geological Survey: Mary Lou Zoback, Steve Walter, Susan Garcia, Luke Blair, Marco Ticci, Howard Bundock, and Bob Simpson; American Red Cross: Harold Brooks, Helen Knudson, and Chris Kramer; Association of Bay Area Governments: Jeanne Perkins; California Earthquake Authority: Nancy Kincaid and Rolf Erickson; California Geological Survey: Keith Knudsen and Chris Wills; Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Northern California Chapter: Fred Turner; Governor’s Office of Emergency Services: Richard Eisner and Kathleen Bailey; QuakeHold!: Dean Reese and Jeff Primes; San Francisco Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security: Doug Sandy; Southern California Earthquake Center: Mark Benthien and Robert de Groot; Structural Engineers Association of Northern California: Patricia Coate and Reinhard Ludke; University of California, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory: Lind Gee; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency: Jeffrey Lusk. Text edited by James W. Hendley II and Peter H. Stauffer, USGS. Production, design, and illustration by Susan Mayfield, USGS. Other illustrators: Jere Smith (front cover), Hans Bennewitz (FUEL Creative Group) (p. 19), Stephanie Langley (p. 4, 10, 25, 26), Todd Connor (p. 20, 21, 27), and Judy Weathers (USGS) (p. 9, 23, 24). 2 Contents Why Should I Care?—The Bay Area Is Your Home All Bay Area residents live on an active plate boundary where earthquakes are frequent events! 4 History shows that damaging earthquakes have occurred throughout the Bay Area… 6 Most earthquake damage is caused by shaking… 8 Earthquakes also cause damage in other ways… 10 Why Should I Prepare?—Big Quakes Will Affect You The disastrous 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was not the “Big One”! 12 Many likely earthquake scenarios for the Bay Area will cause more damage than the Loma Prieta earthquake… 13 Your life could change unexpectedly in the next quake. Consider… 14 Where will your family be? Will you have medical services? Will you be able to get home? Will you be able to stay in your home? Can you live without the services you rely on? How will your job be affected? How will the American Red Cross help? Your financial situation could be affected by a quake… 16 Will you have money, food, and medicine? Will you be able to recover financially? Will your insurance cover your losses? Does your small business have a recovery plan? What will the Government do for you? What Should I Do?—Follow the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety The seven steps to earthquake safety… 18 STEP 1—Identify potential hazards in your home and begin to fix them 20 STEP 2—Create a disaster-preparedness plan 22 STEP 3—Prepare disaster kits 23 STEP 4—Identify your building’s potential weaknesses and begin to fix them 24 STEP 5—Protect yourself during earthquake shaking— DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON 26 STEP 6—After the quake, check for injuries and damage 27 STEP 7—When safe, continue to follow your disaster-preparedness plan 28 A review of money matters 29 What Else Should I Know? Earthquake information on the Web 30 Glossary 31 Introduction The Bay Area Is “Earthquake Country” T his handbook provides information about the threat posed by earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay region and explains how you can prepare for, survive, and recover from these inevitable events. If you live or work in the region, you need to know why you should be concerned with earthquakes, what you can expect during and after a quake, and what you need to do beforehand to be safe and reduce damage. Since the Great earthquake of 1906, much has been learned about earthquake hazards and vulnerabilities in the Bay Area: • We know why earthquakes occur here—The Bay Area straddles the boundary where two of the Earth’s largest tectonic plates meet and slowly move past one another. When boundary faults break and the North American and Pacific Plates lurch past each other, quakes occur. • We know large and damaging earthquakes are certain to occur in the future—At least eight faults in the Bay Area are capable of producing earthquakes of magnitude 6.7 or larger. Such quakes can kill and injure many people and cause substantial damage to buildings, roads, bridges, and utilities. • We know how to reduce losses in future large earthquakes—Building codes have been improved, some older buildings strengthened, and bond measures approved to upgrade critical facilities. Some Bay Area residents have secured their homes to better withstand shaking, created emergency plans and disaster supply kits, and held home earthquake drills. BUT we have not done enough to be prepared for the next large earthquake: • Fewer than 10% of households have disaster plans— If an earthquake occurred right now, where would you go to be safe? If you are at work and your children are at school when the earthquake occurs, how will you get back together? • Fewer than 10% of homeowners have taken steps to retrofit their homes—Is your home bolted to its foundation? If you live in an older building, has it been retrofitted? Is your water heater strapped? Could unsecured furniture or objects fall and cause injury or damage? • Fewer than 50% of households have disaster supply kits—You will likely be on your own in the hours and days following an earthquake. Are you prepared with water, food, first aid supplies, and medications? 3 Why Should I Care? All Bay Area Residents Live on an Active Plate Boundary Where Earthquakes Are Frequent Events! W e know that the San Andreas Fault produces large earthquakes and that many other Bay Area faults are also hazardous. However, even knowing this, it can be difficult to understand how to use this information to make us safer in our daily lives. Should we care only if we live near the San Andreas Fault, or is every place in the Bay Area just as dangerous? This eight-page section describes where earthquakes occur in northern California. It also explains how earthquakes will shake the ground and cause damage in other ways, such as liquefaction and landslides (see pages 8 through 11). Technical terms used throughout this book are explained in the Glossary (see page 31). Myth number 1 ADA Plate boundary faults Earthquake rupture tle h i n g t o n t a Se a s W Casc adi Jan. 1700 M9 a S ub du c e Fuca d n a u J Plate ti on Zo Plate Motions Load the Faults Deep beneath California, the Pacific and North American Plates relentlessly grind past one another, straining or “loading” faults in the Earth’s rigid crust above. The horizontal (“strike slip”) movement between these plates along the San Andreas Fault Zone is about 1.7 inches per year (40 mm/yr), about as fast as your fingernails grow. At this rate, Los Angeles will be west of San Francisco in about 12 million years. Don’t be fooled!— 4 CAN “BEACHFRONT PROPERTY”? JANUARY 1700 M 9 The idea or myth of California sliding into the Pacific Ocean in an earthquake and creating new beachfront property to the east appeals to those having a bit of fun at the Golden State’s expense. Although part of the State west of the San Andreas Fault system is very slowly moving northward and in millions of years could become an island, earthquakes caused by this horizontal motion of the Earth’s tectonic plates will not make California disappear into the sea, like fabled Atlantis. In this computer simulation, tsunami waves are radiating outward after a magnitude (M) 9 earthquake that occurred on the Cascadia Subduction Zone offshore of northern California, Oregon, and Washington on January 26, 1700. This view shows the waves 4 hours after the quake. Colors indicate wave heights—red is highest. Along parts of the coast of the Pacific Northwest, 30-foot-high (9 m) waves rushed inland. Within 20 hours the tsunami did damage throughout the Pacific, and it is well documented in written records from Japan. (For more information go to http://pubs.usgs. gov/circ/c1187/. ”Orphan tsunami” Web address: http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/pp1707/.) ne The Bay Area Is Your Home W yo m in g M on ta na D S ak ot a D N ak ot a JANUARY 1857 M 7.9 ho U ta h n North Amer Oct. 1989 M 6.9 co Sanrancis F zo Jan. 1857 M 7.9 O Apr. 1906
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