'Tectonic Time Bomb' Ticks Along SF Bay

2M live on Hayward Fault, overdue for major earthquake
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2007 10:46 AM CDT
Visitors view a 60-foot makeshift earthquake fissure set up by the American Red Cross to promote earthquake preparedness in San Francisco's Union Square Monday, Aug. 20, 2007. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With 2 million people living directly on top of it, and a major rupture due at any moment, seismologists are calling the Haywood Fault the "single most dangerous fault in the entire Bay Area," and a "tectonic time bomb," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A high magnitude quake would leave thousands homeless and leave an estimated $1 trillion in damages.

With a rough schedule of one serious earthquake every 140 years, residents and scientists in the East Bay area are apprehensive as they approach the 139th anniversary of the devastating 1868 Hayward Earthquake. As part of the anniversary, scientists compiled a "shake map" of the 1868 quake, which allows them to estimate the extent and reach of a future disaster.