Stonewall Road View

stonewall view

If you go up Stonewall Road, pretty soon you’re high above the Claremont Resort and the rest of Oakland. The contrast in elevation across the Hayward fault is very great here; it may be the steepest scarp on the whole fault (although Revere Road, at the other end of Oakland, is a contender). Everything in this view is across the fault, except possibly the house below on the right. Click the photo for an 800-pixel version.

When a big earthquake strikes this stretch of the fault, shaking will be very intense, with seismic energy coming from north, south and below. Trees will snap off at their trunks. Boulders will come barrelling down from above. Every car and burglar alarm on the street will sound, during the mainshock and during aftershocks for weeks afterward. Some homes will fall down the hill. Water and sewer lines will break and begin leaking out of the ground. Natural springs will arise at the same time. And smoke from dozens of nearby fires will begin to fill the air, and the sea breeze will push flames toward the hills.

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5 Responses to “Stonewall Road View”

  1. Daniel Schulman (das88) Says:

    This is not a very happy post. What should landowners, the city, anyone do to reduce the scope of the upcoming damage?

  2. Andrew Says:

    It is a realistic post. It didn’t make me happy to write it, in fact I didn’t set out to write it. The spot is beautiful and geologically interesting, not just a calamity with a “Before” sign on it. But I’m describing well-understood phenomena that are easy to translate into counteractions: reinforce homes and infrastructure; install backup and redundant systems; maintain a defensible landscape; rehearse and coordinate emergency response; plan to survive, keep your wits about you, and help in the aftermath and recovery.

    The city is doing a good job, as these things go. Oakland emergency responders are well served by higher agencies (like FEMA, whose district headquarters is here) and private entities (like EERI, also in Oakland) and the world-class researchers of the Bay area. And Oakland’s CORE program is ready to train citizens across the city.

  3. cbdawson Says:

    With any real understanding of Bay area earthquake hazards, it’s hard not to go down this path once you start. It’s the reality of living in the area, although we often try to pretend it’s not.

    I took my city’s disaster preparedness classes: the experience was very useful & eye opening — and highly motivational. There are also lots of online preparedness resources for residents. Two of my favorites are:

    Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country – Your Handbook for the San Francisco Bay Region
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2005/15/

    And parts of the ABAG site
    http://quake.abag.ca.gov/

  4. Margaret Hanzimanolis Says:

    Hi Andrew, do plant growth patterns contribute any evidence of fault activity or location?

  5. Andrew Says:

    Sure, but only minor evidence. For instance, the rocks may differ across a fault, so the soils will differ too. And where a fault changes the groundwater flow, you can get lines of springs along the fault, like this example in Hayward.

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