Little Known Fault Poses Major Threat Near Bay Area

Late Sunday night, a magnitude 3.5 earthquake rocked Los Angeles to sleep. While the San Andreas and Hayward faults grab headlines when the media talk of the “big one,” a lesser-known fault line named the Concord is flying under the radar. Geologists, however, have been keeping a watchful eye on the 11-mile-long fissure that is equally, if not more, capable of producing a devastating and catastrophic earthquake.

“The Concord Fault is significantly more active than the fault that caused the Napa earthquake. Nobody would be surprised if a magnitude-6 earthquake happened on the Concord Fault tomorrow,” Chris Wills of the California Geological Survey told the Contra Costa Times.

Napa’s August 2014 quake is estimated to have cost over $400 million in damage and one death.

Despite contributing less to geological activity than the other two faults, the Concord Fault is mere miles from three of five Bay Area oil refineries, which together processed 235 million barrels of crude in 2012 (about 40 percent of the state’s total), the Times notes.

A December study conducted by the Association of Bay Area Governments noted that the potential impact on regional and statewide fuel distribution would be affected by a quake on the Concord Fault. The disruption of gasoline distribution would also affect water, electricity and transportation, the Times notes.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz


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