Hayward Fault: My feet went there

It’s not very often that one gets to stand on a fault* and know it too. If you are visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, there is a place...

It’s not very often that one gets to stand on a fault* and know it too. If you are visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, there is a place where you can go and take a ‘my feet went there’ photograph while standing on a major fault – the Hayward Fault.

Hayward Fault
A part of the Hayward Fault at the Oakland Zoo, Ca.


Hayward Fault
A map of the San Francisco Bay and the ‘Bay Area’ with its two prominent Faults — San Andreas and Hayward Faults

These pictures are from Oakland Zoo in Oakland, California. And this section of the Hayward Fault is said to have been discovered in 2003. For those of you who do not know — California has faults aplenty and the Hayward Fault is one of the bigger ones. This fault lies on the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay (See picture above. The black line on the left is the longer San Andreas Fault that runs through almost the whole length of the State of California).

Hayward Fault

Also from Oakland Zoo:

Oakland’s own Little Africa
A crocodile that ate dinosaurs
A skyride safari at OaklandΒ 

You might also want to visit:

Earthquake at California Academy of Science

*A fault is a crack in the earth’s crust, along which earthquakes generally take place.

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46 Comments on this post.
  • R Niranjan Das
    20 February 2013 at 6:29 am
    • dNambiar
      20 February 2013 at 7:37 am

      Niranjan, this is an earthquake prone area. There are 3 big Faults around here and several smaller ones.

  • umashankar
    20 February 2013 at 7:08 am

    That is exciting stuff! Must say I've never seen a fault in perfect pictures!

    • dNambiar
      20 February 2013 at 7:44 am

      Much more exciting is living somewhere in between two faults. Every once in a while we're startled by a tremor and most often we don't know which fault let off some pressure, until the experts tell us where the epicenter was.

      And then there are the quake predictions. That's the scary part. πŸ™‚

  • Desi Traveler
    20 February 2013 at 8:09 am

    Oh..so that is the reason so many earthquakes come in California..Very interesting..

    • dNambiar
      20 February 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Yeah Prasad, there are so many Faults around here and that's why this area is famous for tremors. They say a big, bad quake is due before the end of 30 years.
      Any body living around here, even visiting ought to be prepared.

  • TTT
    20 February 2013 at 1:05 pm

    hey that was interesting ! what do I say ? lucky you ????

    • dNambiar
      20 February 2013 at 7:16 pm

      I'm not sure, really. But it is interesting indeed.

  • Krishna
    20 February 2013 at 3:19 pm


    • dNambiar
      20 February 2013 at 7:18 pm

      I'm sure. πŸ™‚

  • magiceye
    20 February 2013 at 5:25 pm

    πŸ™‚ Find it funny that it is a tourist attraction!

    • dNambiar
      20 February 2013 at 7:28 pm

      I don't know if it is much of an attraction. This one is in a zoo and most people are busy looking at and looking for the animals marked on the maps that this little place where the Fault is marked is often overlooked.

      And it probably is not much of a deal to some people who know this part of the world has so many Faults.

      The Oakland Zoo is a good one and most people are here for the animals. πŸ™‚

  • Rajyalakshmi Vathyam
    20 February 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Intersting, well actuallu, educational..I did not know anything like this existed for tourism purposes and actually I did not even know the meaning of fault, so educational post for me πŸ™‚

    • dNambiar
      20 February 2013 at 7:39 pm

      Like I was telling Magiceye, most visitors come to the zoo for the animals. It's a good zoo really.
      So glad you found it informative, Raji. Maybe I should add a few lines on what a fault is.

      I remember learning about Faults in school and for me, it existed only in my geography books until I moved to the Bay Area and started feeling the tremors that are not very rare around here. Then I looked up an earthquake map and came to know about the major Faults around this area and where they lie.
      But I was surprised to find that a section of a big Fault was actually 'marked' when I visited this zoo a couple of years ago. I happened to go there again a few months back and this time around I brought back some pictures.

  • Meoww
    21 February 2013 at 12:11 am

    I love America for showing us things that would never we would have never thought about at all or attached some huge reverence/fear to it!
    And DN : Not very… standing on a fault and know it too πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

    • dNambiar
      21 February 2013 at 6:40 pm

      Not very often, right? πŸ™‚ That's why I talk about the feet-went-there pic. This would beat the feet-that-went-to-the-beach. :D.
      And if you are in a place like this where there are so many faults, you're going over them over and over again without really knowing it. It's things like this that remind us we're in earthquake country.

  • indu chhibber
    21 February 2013 at 2:37 am

    This fault is notorious–do you folks have all contingency plans ready?

    • dNambiar
      21 February 2013 at 6:45 pm

      Pretty notorious. And its cousin — the San Andreas is worse. California is not totally unprepared but then I don't know if we can be completely prepared too.

      Every now and then, there are reminders: about what has to be done, about having emergency kit and food and water for at least 72 hours and all that.

  • Akshay Kumar G
    21 February 2013 at 5:24 am

    Wow! This is something new I learnt, today. As someone mentioned above, even I had no clue what a fault actually is, or what does it look like. Fascinating, I must say.

    Some researchers say, predicting earthquakes is still impossible in-spite of all the technological advancements. Faults tell us where the earthquakes might occur, hopefully in the future they can accurately predict "when" it might happen as well. Faults may me just one of the factors in that aspect, I guess. πŸ™‚

    • dNambiar
      21 February 2013 at 7:23 pm

      There's some more learning coming — soon.
      We get these lessons every now and then. And I think I should put it up here. People who visit earthquake-prone CA could be a bit prepared. And it might be helpful for everybody to be equipped with some info in the wake of a quake. So, a post… soon. πŸ™‚

      It's still difficult to predict quake but experts are trying to monitor movements and watching birds and animals, who they say sometimes sense one coming.

      When the earthquake in Japan happened, the Tsunami actually moved westward and hit the US west coast, only it wasn't as bad as the one in Japan. It was early morning here and some people on the coast were evacuated and asked to move to higher ground.

      There are people who watch carefully but like I was telling Indu, I don't think we can be fully prepared.

  • AmitAag
    21 February 2013 at 8:02 am

    Amazing! Definitely an absolutely new thing for me!
    And you have put it so interestingly too, Divya, Thank you :):D

    • dNambiar
      21 February 2013 at 7:25 pm

      You are welcome Amit. There'll be more info coming.

      Thank you. πŸ™‚

  • Rajesh
    21 February 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Interesting place, never knew about this before.

    • dNambiar
      21 February 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Rajesh, actually there are more Faults around here. This is one place where it is marked. If you are coming this side again, you should check out the earthquake exhibit at the Academy of Sciences in SF.

  • Panchali
    22 February 2013 at 4:19 am

    Very interesting! I have read about the Fault zones, but saw one today. Scary, eh??
    Impeccable pictures!! Thanks for sharing, Divya:)

    • dNambiar
      23 February 2013 at 1:47 am

      My pleasure, Panchali di. πŸ™‚
      You should look up aerial shots of the longer San Andreas Fault. That's scarier.

  • Arti
    22 February 2013 at 10:10 am

    This is very interesting, Divya. Glad that you spotted it in spite of the zoo being the main touristy attraction and bring it to us πŸ™‚ how deep are those cracks, any pointers?

    • dNambiar
      23 February 2013 at 2:32 am

      Thanks Arti. The first time I was there, I saw the board that tells us we're on the Hayward Fault and I wasn't really expecting that. I'd taken a picture of that but not of the marking on the ground. We happened to go there again some time ago and I thought I should bring back a picture of those tiles. It's not very often that we get to see something THAT. πŸ™‚

      There's a lot of earthquake talk that happens around here, in the papers, on TV and every time people some place in the area experience a small quake. And most often it's the length of these Faults that's mentioned and the Hayward Fault is around 45 miles. The other one, the longer and deadlier San Andreas is around 700 miles; all this according to the United States Geological Survey. (by the way, just south of the Hayward Fault there's another big once called Calaveras. )

      Let me see if I can find authentic info about the depth of these faults.

  • jaish_vats
    22 February 2013 at 11:46 am

    Got clarity only when I reached the end of your post Divya…I had no idea what a fault is ! πŸ™‚

    • dNambiar
      23 February 2013 at 2:34 am

      Just you wait, Jaish. There's another loaded post coming up soon πŸ˜‰

      Have a great weekend and all the best for your licence. πŸ™‚

  • Saru Singhal
    22 February 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Oh! This is something interesting. I am planning a trip to west coast this summer. Will use your blog for planning the trip πŸ™‚

    • dNambiar
      23 February 2013 at 2:37 am

      That is great news. Please do.
      You're gonna have a great summer. :)You could even visit in the winter if you want to escape the cold temperatures of the North East.

      Lemme know. We'll try to meet.

  • Haddock
    23 February 2013 at 1:08 am

    A memorable one. Like Jaish I too had no idea till I read the last line. Learned something today πŸ™‚

    • dNambiar
      23 February 2013 at 2:38 am

      I'm so glad, sir. πŸ™‚
      So it was a good thing to have added that last line. I put it up after Akshay's comment.

  • Kusum Sanu
    23 February 2013 at 8:33 am

    Great post! Glad you knew you are standing on it!

    Once I went to see San Andreas Fault, not sure what was in my mind. I had seen an aerial view on the net! I drove all the way up to Carrizo Plain NM, and then drove miles and miles on the deserted roads. When the gas indicator showed half I returned from that area without seeing what I thought I would πŸ™

  • Kusum Sanu
    23 February 2013 at 8:36 am

    Great post! Glad you knew your are standing on it!

    Once I went to see San Andreas Fault, not sure what was in my mind. I had seen an aerial view on the net! I drove all the way down to Carrizo Plain NM, then drove miles and miles on those deserted roads aimlessly. Returned when the gas indicator showed less than half without seeing what I wanted to see πŸ™ On the way back I felt so stupid, Man! what was I thinking!? Well, I drove over or across it, may be!!

    • dNambiar
      24 February 2013 at 12:04 am

      I've seen a picture of it. San Andreas looks scary! πŸ™‚
      I hear there are places where you see the different rocks, that of the Pacific plate and the North American plate. So sorry that you drove all that way and didn't get to see what you wanted to. Good you weren't stranded on the those deserted roads because of the fuel. Gosh! I hope the drive was good, otherwise.

      Yeah, you never know– you just might have gone over it. πŸ™‚

  • Ramakant Pradhan
    23 February 2013 at 8:05 pm

    The americans sure have a way of making everything a tourist attraction. But one has to give them credit; California is sitting right on the ring of fire and they have the sense of humour to laugh about it.

    • dNambiar
      24 February 2013 at 12:54 am

      We do that too, don't we? Think of all the vista points being called 'suicide points' for sake of attracting people.

      I'm not sure if California is really laughing about it all. The way I see it is that people here (at least) 'know' about the land and the dangers. What I don't know is if anybody can be fully prepared for the big quake that will happen someday. If only we knew when exactly it'll hit! πŸ™‚

    • Ramakant Pradhan
      24 February 2013 at 4:05 am

      Some how I have always felt we undermarket our tourist spots. Not as much publicity as should be given and not the facilities needed to make them commercial successes. Not all, but most of them.

      As for Californians, they keep getting mild shudders from time to time and then just wonder aloud on the possibility of the next one being the big one.

    • dNambiar
      4 March 2013 at 8:37 pm

      It's true that 'most states' don't promote their destinations enough. Only a few take that money allotted to it for the purpose an use it to bring in more. That's bad. The brochures generally list the not-so-popular places. But just how many people pick them up? (I guess only people like us who are really curious about a place. :))

      You are so right about the facilities, Ramakant. The saddest part is the lack of good roads and toilets and all at these 'attractions,' especially the far-flung ones.

      And coming to Californians, there's little else really, that people can do other than hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

  • Rahul Bhatia
    27 February 2013 at 10:53 am

    Ha Ha, for once you succeeded in Fault Finding mission, Divya:) Nice description of the Fault!

    • dNambiar
      4 March 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Fault Finding! haha!!
      Now this is one of those rare situations when we can go do some Fault Finding and not feel bad about it. πŸ˜€

      Thank you Mr. Bhatia. πŸ™‚

  • Kishan P
    22 March 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I've never even knew they have a name for these things… cracks. And you build up the suspense till the very end where you reveal the meaning in a footnote?? πŸ™‚

    • dNambiar
      24 March 2013 at 9:42 pm

      I just presumed all of you'd remember that from your geography classes.

  • Earthquake exhibit at San Francisco | Tipsy from the TRIP
    3 February 2017 at 1:02 am

    […] earthquake – Universal Studios,CA. Want to stand on the Hayward Fault for a moment? Visit Oakland Zoo California Academy of Sciences Off. site Share Tagged  1906 quake, California, California […]

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