The HayWired Scenario — How can the San Francisco bay region bounce back better?

Kenneth W. Hudnut, Anne M. Wein, Dale A. Cox, Suzanne C. Perry, Keith A. Porter, Laurie A. Johnson, & Jennifer A. Strauss

Submitted July 17, 2017, SCEC Contribution #7311, 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting Talk on Wed 10:30

The HayWired scenario is a hypothetical yet scientifically realistic and quantitative depiction of a moment magnitude (Mw) 7.0 earthquake (mainshock) occurring on April 18, 2018, at 4:18 p.m. on the Hayward Fault in the east bay part of the San Francisco Bay area, California. The hypothetical earthquake has its epicenter in Oakland, and strong ground shaking from the scenario causes a wide range of severe impacts throughout the greater bay region. In the scenario, the Hayward Fault is ruptured along its length for 83 kilometers (about 52 miles).

Building on a decades-long series of efforts to reduce earthquake risk in the San Francisco Bay region, the hypothetical HayWired earthquake is used to examine the well-known earthquake hazard of the Hayward Fault, with a focus on newly emerging vulnerabilities. After a major earthquake disaster, reestablishing water services and food-supply chains are, of course, top priorities. However, problems associated with telecommunication outages or “network congestion” will increase and become more urgent as the bay region deepens its reliance on the “Internet of Things.”

Communications at all levels are crucial during incident response following an earthquake. Damage to critical facilities (such as power plants) from earthquake shaking and to electrical and telecommunications wires and fiber-optic cables that are severed where they cross a fault rupture can trigger cascading Internet and telecommunications outages, and restoring these services is crucially important for emergency-response coordination. Without good communications, emergency-response efficiency is reduced, and as a result, life-saving response functions can be compromised. For these reasons, the name HayWired was chosen for this scenario to emphasize the need to examine our interconnectedness and reliance on telecommunications and other lifelines (such as water and electricity).

Earthquake risk in the San Francisco Bay region has been greatly reduced as a result of previous concerted efforts; for example, a roughly $50 billion investment in strengthening infrastructure was motivated in large part by the 1989 magnitude (M) 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake. The earthquake hazard from the Hayward Fault remains high, however, and work still needs to be done to ensure that the region is ready for an earthquake like that in the HayWired scenario.

Key Words
Hayward Fault, Scenario

Hudnut, K. W., Wein, A. M., Cox, D. A., Perry, S. C., Porter, K. A., Johnson, L. A., & Strauss, J. A. (2017, 07). The HayWired Scenario — How can the San Francisco bay region bounce back better?. Oral Presentation at 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting.

Related Projects & Working Groups
Earthquake Engineering Implementation Interface (EEII)