Why San Francisco's Earthquake Risk Is Growing

A U.S. Geological Survey report says that there is more than a 70 percent chance that a 6.7 magnitude or higher earthquake will hit the Bay Area in the next 30 years. Here’s why San Francisco is not as ready as one may think when the next big earthquake hits.

Two major earthquakes have hit the Bay Area in modern history. In 1906, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit San Francisco and 80 percent of the city’s buildings fell or burnt to the ground, leaving 300,000 people homeless and killing nearly 3,000. In 1989, a 6.9 magnitude quake caused the ground to liquefy in parts of the city and collapsed highways, killing more than 60 people.

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Why San Francisco’s Earthquake Risk Is Growing


  1. you don't metion 1971 earthquake in southren california, i lived though that one high way went down hospital parts of it went down and we had so much damage the goverment paid for the repairs if i remember right that was 6.9 quake

  2. I've never been in a earthquake I live in Ohio but go every summer I've been though earthquake test and tsunami test. but I've seen videos of the 2011 earthquake in Japan and the one in California in 1989 (sorry about the bad grammar)

  3. It's been UNUSUALLY quiet lately on the earthquake front in California!
    It's the "calm before the storm," so to speak, as the stress on the faults are ready to blow!

  4. We had 6.9 quake in 1989 so it's not surprising that another one would be expected in the next 30 years… not exactly big news. Considering all things, The City came through fairly well and important changes have been implemented since then to make it as safe as possible for when another one comes. It's an on going project. I experienced that one down in San Mateo.

  5. They keep building on landfill it’s a wrap! They weren’t supposed to build anything taller than the TransAmerica and then they bent over and gave in to the sales force tower.. right on landfill! Wtf?!
    But the thing is it’s the fires that cause the most damage

  6. If the Earthquake is not to far from the surface of the ground then there will be waves in the motion of the ground; if the Earthquake has a strong enough effect on the Richter scale; and the ground shakes for several minutes wouldn’t the buildings collapse; and tip over?

  7. As a structural engineer, I designed earthquake strengthening systems for those "soft story" type buildings at 4:30 in the video. There were no adequate products to fit into congested garages, so I invented my own. It's now patented and used in over a dozen cities in the East Bay, Peninsula, North Bay, Pleasanton….. but SF has so far allowed it in only ONE building after the system went through an independent engineering review. The reasoning behind SF's hesitancy would make a good story in itself.

  8. San Francisco can't fix its current problems of housing and dysfunctional transit — does ANYONE think they can pull it together to be forward thinking enough to plan for the future?

  9. Lots of comments on here about Japan's vs. California's building codes. They are actually quite similar, but Japan has invested more in retrofitting older buildings. Knowledge learned from major quakes is shared internationally and incorporated into building codes worldwide.

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