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Major quake on Hayward fault more likely, scientists say

California, USA
The Hayward fault, long dubbed a "tectonic time bomb," soon may have a more ominous moniker: "The most dangerous urban fault in America." Earthquake experts revealed at a major science conference in San Francisco Tuesday new disturbing information about the fault line that dissects heavily populated parts of Fremont, Hayward, Oakland and Berkeley, saying in a nutshell that it's bigger, badder and more worrisome than ever. Not only is the fault longer - and therefore capable of causing a bigger quake - than thought just a few years ago, there is now strong evidence that it's connected to the nearby Calaveras fault, raising concerns both faults could go off at the same time. The Calaveras was responsible for October's 5.4-magnitude quake near Alum Rock. Part of the Calaveras fault should probably be renamed the Hayward - a new computer model suggests the odds of a "Big One" rocking the Hayward are greater than 50-50 within the next few decades. The previous estimate was 27 percent. "Instead of having separate earthquakes on these faults, they could team up to have one big earthquake." With a potential magnitude of 7.2 or even 7.4, "we're talking about twice as big as the Loma Prieta earthquake - or even four times as big." The two faults actually connect just northeast of San Jose, about four miles below the Earth's surface.

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