By Ed Crane
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Just back from Mexico City’s quake zone, noted international earthquake expert Dr. Kit Miyamoto has a word of warning for his adopted hometown of Sacramento.
He says the kind of quake that devastated Mexico City not only could happen here — it probably will — sometime in the next decade or so.
The epicenter of the September 22 quake was roughly the same distance from Sacramento to the Bay Area. And Miyamoto says if a quake hits along the Hayward Fault, Sacramento could suffer serious damage. We have hundreds of buildings constructed before 1973 and some of them rest on very soft soil.
“We have very soft soil; when the quake hits, that causes a wave-like effect and the building collapses,” said Miyamoto. “These concrete buildings built before 1973 are extremely dangerous. We have thousands of them.”
The Hayward’s last major quake was in 1868 and since experts say the faults erupt every 140 years or so. The East Bay, and perhaps Sacramento, are on borrowed time — 144 years and counting.
It’s not a doomsday scenario. Dr. Miyamoto says these buildings can be retrofitted for about 5 percent of their replacement cost, but he says we have to get moving.