Watching the Hayward Fault

Science  18 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5482, pp. 1147-1148
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5482.1147

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The Hayward fault, located on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, represents a natural laboratory for seismologists, because it does not sleep silently between major earthquakes. In his Perspective, Simpson discusses the study by Bürgmann et al., who have used powerful new techniques to study the fault. The results indicate that major earthquakes cannot originate in the northern part of the fault. However, surface-rupturing earthquakes have occurred in the area, suggesting that they originated to the north or south of the segment studied by Bürgmann et al. Fundamental questions remain regarding the mechanism by which plate tectonic stresses are transferred to the Hayward fault.