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USGS To Set Off Multiple Blasts Along Hayward Fault To Study Seismic Connections

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- Research scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have come up with a bang-up experiment to see if the Hayward Fault has dangerous connections to other East Bay faults.

They're drilling 24 holes, 20- to 30 feet deep in the fault zone, and will set off explosive charges in them to produce a seismic wave that will bounce off the Hayward Fault trace deep underground.

Five hundred sensors will record the resulting reflections.

"This will essentially give us a 3-D ultrasound image of the subsurface," said Dr. Rufus Catchings, a USGS research geophysicist.

Seismologists would like to know if the Hayward Fault is connected to the nearby Chabot Fault and, if so, how much energy might be transferred between them.

"If these faults are connected, for example, our existing models that we use to make shake maps may not be accurate," Dr. Catchings said.

The explosions are planned to be set off in about a week and will happen at night. One neighbor who spoke to KPIX wasn't bothered at all by either the blasting or the possibility of triggering an actual earthquake.

"Earthquakes are not a big deal for me, I mean they just come and sometimes I feel them and sometimes I don't," said Esther Taylor-Joseph. "I think it's exciting! I think it's nice that they're tracking the movement."

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