Controlled implosion provides quake data for the Hayward Fault [VIDEO]

By KRISTEN BUTLER,  |  Aug. 19, 2013 at 9:42 AM
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A controlled implosion of Warren Hall at Cal State's East Bay campus gave scientists an opportunity to gather data from the impact's effect on nearby fault lines, in order to study the effects of future earthquakes in the area.

The 13-story university admin building, locally known as "the Tower," stood for four decades, but has been an earthquake hazard and needed to come down.

Geology professor Luther Strayer alerted the U.S. Geological survey to the impending demolition, saying he knew the blast would present a unique data-gathering opportunity.

Warren Hall was brought down in a series of blasts Saturday morning, and the 12,500 tons of concrete and steel produced magnitude-2.0 shock waves.

USGS scientists had arranged more than 600 seismographs in concentric circles around the Tower, out to a one-mile radius, which picked up about eight to ten seconds of vibrations.

Those recorded vibrations, as well as the effect on nearby Hayward Fault, will help scientists study how the ground will move, and where it will vibrate most, during the next big earthquake.

The analysis will also help scientists locate numerous smaller fault lines, called traces, that split off of known faults.

The last major temblor on the Hayward Fault was in 1868, Catchings said. He said the fault triggers a major earthquake every 140 years, on average.

The USGS estimates there is a 63 percent chance of a major earthquake in the region within the next three decades.

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