HayWired Earthquake Scenario

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Millions of people live, work and travel every day near the Hayward fault, where the threat of an earthquake is frighteningly real. A joint effort between scientists and public officials brought science and government together to help the Bay Area public prepare for this eventual quake and to start planning now for recovery. 

Being recognized with a Bay Area Metro Award is the HayWired Scenario, a 4-year scientific analysis that anticipates the potential impacts of a 7.0 earthquake racing at 7,000 miles per hour up and down 52 miles of the East Bay fault line. Although hypothetical, the HayWired Scenario is a scientifically realistic and quantitative depiction using data from the Seismic Safety Commission and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The effort was steered by Anne Wein, a principle USGS investigator, who led over 60 researchers and organizations through a robust process designed to predict, educate about and prepare for this earthquake before it happens. 

“The purpose of the scenario is not to tell you what the future is going to be. It’s to make evident the range of risks and cascading consequences that could take place,” stated Dave Applegate, USGS Associate Director for Natural Hazards. 

“We can save lives and reduce risk by taking action now. That’s our main message. Not to frighten but to empower,” added Kenneth Hudnut, Science Advisor for Risk Reduction at USGS.

Through scientific modeling of realistic impacts, the project aims not only to explore the consequences of such a quake, but also to help devise cost-effective resiliency strategies to reduce risk. The HayWired Scenario can be used for years to come to drive policy at the local, regional and state levels. 

“The important part for me is getting it in the hands of people who are making decisions and making policy,” stated Wein. 

As Hudnut stated, “Together we can outsmart disaster by putting science into action.

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