There are seven major fault lines (cracks in the earth) in the San Francisco Bay Area, and as a result, earthquakes -- produced when faults shift -- are common. Our children have earthquake drills in school, just as they have fire drills. If you're coming to San Francisco, you should know what to do in case of an earthquake.
Because our seismic reinforcement codes are very strict, it's not likely that the buildng will collapse. The biggest danger is from things falling on you, so unless you're in the middle of an open field, it's best not to run outside, where there are signs, street lights, and power lines.
Stay calm and move quickly away from windows, mirrors, and chandeliers. If possible, get under a heavy piece of furniture like a desk or table and curl up into a ball. Or stand in a doorway, which is the most reinforced part of a building, and wait for the tremors to stop. Be aware that there may be smaller aftershocks in the next few hours.
A quake that measure 3 or 4 on the Richter scale will rattle the windows, and a 5 is a hard jolt, like a truck hitting the side of the building. We haven't had a major one in this area since the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 -- that was a 6.9. The infamous 1906 earthquake pre-dated the Richter but is estimated to have been an 8.2.
You will notice that there are very few brick buildings in San Francisco. The reason for that is that brick is a rigid and inflexible material, and the mortar holding the bricks together crumbles easily. The brick buildings that remain have been reinforced.
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the Bay Area just before the third game of the World Series at Candlestick Park; the worst earthquake since 1906. The tremor collapsed a section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
Damage was estimated at almost three billion dollars in San Francisco, which was approximately one-half of the total damage figure for the entire earthquake zone.
When the Loma-Prietta Earthquake of 1989 shook San Francisco, it was a few days after my birthday, on a hot Indian Summer Day.
I had just left work and was walking to Market Street to take the bus home. When I got to this spot (where I am standing here in this picture over 16 years later) on Drumm Street and Clay, the 6.9 magnitude earthquake occurred. The lampost that I am resting on here was shaking up and down and I knew this was a larger earthquake than normal.
Although SF is infamous for earthquakes, only 3 major ones have hit in the past 100 years. The one in 1989 took about 50 lives.
If an earthquake occurs, be careful of falling glass from buildings, disoriented SF Drivers, and most of all, stay calm and you should be ok.
The BIG One is due !
Now I'm not sure if this is a warning not to visit or visit soon before it vanishes.
I love San Francisco
but none the less The Big One is Due !
It sure as heck would be an adventure.
I am often asked by people who live outside California "Aren't you worried about earthquakes?" The answer is no -- most residents of California hardly give earthquakes a second thought.
Seismic reinforcement of structures in California is quite advanced. Major earthquakes do cause some damage, but when that happens, structures are rebuilt and reinforced, and made much stronger.
City Hall is a good example. It was extensively damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (7.1 on the Richter Scale), but after years of reconstruction the entire building was strengthened to prevent that type of damage in the future.
This picture shows the inside of the huge dome above the rotunda. The dome, which twisted four inches like a corkscrew in the 1989 earthquake, is now supported by 1,200 of steel near its top. In a future quake, the dome is designed to move with the building, preventing damage.
The truth is, your odds of being injured in an earthquake in California are very, very slim.
If you are still concerned and want to keep tabs on our recent earthquakes, click on the link below.
I was in a several earthquakes in the 2 years that I lived there. Not much you can do....but hold on!
There are earthquakes in SF area often. I just stayed in Sheraton hotel when one of them started. It was so strong that some things falled from table and it was hard to stay up in rooms.