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San Francisco Bay Area Earthquake Risk

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What is the Earthquake Risk in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area?

Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma

The greater San Francisco Bay Area has a high likelihood of future damaging earthquakes as it straddles the San Andreas fault system—the major geologic boundary between the North American and Pacific tectonic plates. 

The main trace of the San Andreas fault runs through much of the State of California, including the Santa Cruz Mountains and up the San Francisco Peninsula, before heading offshore at Daly City and returning onshore again at Bolinas and continuing up the Marin and Sonoma County coasts.

The Calaveras and Hayward faults extend up the east side of the San Francisco Bay. These and several other major faults in the region are part of the San Andreas fault system and can cause damaging earthquakes, like the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. 

Scientists predict that within a 30-year period (beginning in 2014), there’s a 51 percent chance that the San Francisco region specifically will experience one or more magnitude-7.0 or greater earthquakes. They also say there’s a 98 percent chance of one or more magnitude-6.0 or greater quakes occurring in the San Francisco area during that same timeframe.

Soils in lowland areas away from major faults may be subject to liquefaction. Houses on liquefied soil may settle or even move laterally on gentle slopes. Landslides are possible on steep hillsides.

Learn more about Earthquake Risk in the San Francisco Greater Bay Area including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

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