Science and engineering come together with the user community in the “HayWired” scenario

HayWired – What is the value of a large-scale scenario effort?

HayWired is and will be a major undertaking for the community and promises to help raise awareness of and increase preparedness for a M 7.0 on the Hayward fault. The diagram above shows the different tiers of input (in green) and scenario outputs (in blue) that comprise HayWired. It involves experts from multiple disciplines coming together to create an integrated and credible look at the impact of a major earthquake before it happens.

USGS lists the principles of the scenario as:

  1. A large plausible event (not worst case)
  2. An event worth planning for
  3. Integrate many disciplines
  4. Reflect expert consensus
  5. Create with community partners
  6. Plain-English products for users…A tool to help visualize, plan, and prepare.

Given that USGS predicts a 33% chance of a M 6.7 or greater earthquake on the Hayward fault in 30 years (2014-43) and that it will occur in a major urban area interconnected by utilities, technology, and transportation, the impacts are likely to be massive.

It is not just the initial earthquake that will create damage and cause the area to potentially go ‘haywired’ but also multiple events that precede and follow the earthquake:

  • Earthquake early warning is triggered
  • ShakeMap is generated
  • Slip – The earthquake itself
  • Liquefaction
  • Landslides
  • Fires
  • Aftershock forecasts
  • Aftershock sequences

Each of these will impact the community, and this complex of events is what Haywired is designed to plan for.

When the Bay Area Goes HayWired !

HayWired – Background

What if a magnitude 7.0 earthquake happens on the Hayward fault starting under Oakland, California, on 4/18/18 at 4:18 pm?

The Hayward fault in Northern California is likely to slip and, when it does, a major earthquake is possible. How will we respond? What tools and technologies are available now and do we know how to use them? How can we insure that the broader planning and response community is ready and reacts in concert?

These are some of the drivers for the 2018 United States Geological Survey (USGS) earthquake scenario “HayWired”, in part funded by The Seismic Safety Commission, which engage dozens of governmental and business organizations to better understand the impacts of a M 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward fault.  “HayWired” is a reference not only to the prolonged loss of the Internet but also the chaos caused by impacts to social connectivity and technology, and the effects of damages and disruption throughout the economy.

The over-arching themes and objectives of the “HayWired” scenario include:

  1. Improve the communication of earthquake hazard science and engineering for use in decision-making
  2. Help understand and inform actions to reduce earthquake risks
  3. Help build community capacity to respond to and recover from earthquakes.

Having a detailed scenario will help engineers, emergency planners, community organizations and major firms operating in the region develop a realistic set of conversations and plans about what to do.

Sadly, it is not a matter of if the Hayward fault slips but when.



Earthquake Visualization Tools – V


Earthquake Visualization Tools – Earthquake Scenario Tools

We have written a lot about monitoring and mapping earthquakes that occur and the value of timely information. But what about earthquakes that have not happened yet? How do we illustrate what might happen and better understand the impacts of a major earthquake?  Working with researchers and drawing on data from more than 100 years, the US Geological Survey has prepared a series of scenarios that show the impacts of earthquakes of different magnitudes along different faults in California and elsewhere ( For each of the scenarios, they have produced a shake map, an interactive map, regional information maps, and even videos for some, as they did for the Great Shakeout scenario.

A bit unnerving? Yes.

Informative? Always.


California and Mexico Working Together to Reduce Earthquake Losses

San Diego/Tijuana Earthquake Scenario
What is involved in a scenario plan? And Why Update it

In 1990 EERI created a scenario study of an earthquake along the San Diego/Tijuana Border area.  And now, as we discussed in an earlier Post, they are doing a new one.  Today there are more buildings, more people, our understanding of earthquakes is greater and we have new tools to develop the scenario; ultimately to help keep the people in the region safer in case of a major earthquake.

When we talk about scenarios what is involved?  The EERI 2017 project includes dozens of different experts in three working groups. They cover the geotechnical issues, infrastructure and economics and social impacts.  A deeper look at the infrastructure team gives us a better understanding of what has changed since 1990. This is their work scope:

  • Lifelines (water, wastewater, power, communications, natural gas and liquid fuels, dams)
  • Transportation (roads/highways, bridges, ports, rail).
  • Buildings (URM/unreinforced masonry/brick, historic buildings, commercial and residential, low-rise, mid-rise, high- rise, pre-1980 concrete, post-1980 concrete, pre-Northridge steel, industrial facilities, open-front buildings).
  • Essential Facilities (hospital, schools, police and fire stations, airport etc.).
    • Health & school systems on both sides of the border
  • Border Stations
  • Risk Assessment & Loss Modeling

This project helps illustrate that earthquakes do not recognize international boundaries.

The San Diego/Tijuana Earthquake Scenario


At 7:31AM on May 16th 2017, a Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake occurred along the Rose Canyon Fault off of San Diego at location 32.850°N, 117.258°W at a depth of 4.9 km.

Only it didn’t, it was just a scenario, prepared by the USGS with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute to help develop plans for risk reduction in the Tijuana/San Diego region. This region is home to more than 5 million people, with interconnected and interdependent economies and infrastructures.  The scenario, and others like it, help answer questions like:

  • How prepared is the region in the case of a major earthquake?
  • What types of damages and impacts can be expected and perhaps more important, what types of impacts may be unexpected?
  • What will the social and economic impacts be to the region?
  • And what can be done now to improve earthquake safety and resilience?

This is a volunteer effort, involving architects, geologists, seismologists, emergency managers, planners, building officials, and even social scientists and economists. They are working in three interconnected teams to help put together an integrated view of the event and what might happen and how best to respond:

  1. Earth Science – What is likely to happen when the fault slips?
  2. Engineering – How are structures designed and how will they respond?
  3. Social Science – What are the impacts on the social systems and economics of the region?

Multiple partners, working together, will prepare recommendation on how to improve resilience and recovery.