The Fault

The Hayward Fault, a part of the San Andreas Fault system, is the closest active fault to the campus, crossing through the eastern part of the campus. Earthquakes on the Hayward Fault in 1836 and 1868 produced strong ground motions and widespread damage in the Bay Area. The magnitudes of these events have been estimated at M7 and M6.5-7, respectively. Since the early 1800s major earthquakes also have been reported on the Calaveras Fault to the east of the Berkeley hills. In general, earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 6 occurred with epicenters within 20 miles of the UC Berkeley campus in 1836, 1838, 1865, 1868, 1898, 1906, 1911, and 1984. A 2003 USGS report assigned a 27 percent probability of the Hayward Fault producing a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years. 

Earlier Seismic Assessments of the Campus

The UC Regents adopted the University of California Seismic Safety Policy in 1975.  Following that, the Berkeley campus participated in a system-wide study of seismic performance ratings that assigned a rating of “Good” “Fair” “Poor” or “Very Poor” to its facitlities.  of  of a rating system for the seismic safety of campus buildings in 1975, UC Berkeley In the years following this study , the campus retrofit a number of deficient buildings.  Corrections totaling approximately $250 million had been made in 1997, including the retrofit of three high-rise residence hall complexes. All of these corrections are designed to bring the buildings to a rating of Good.

Seismic projects completed prior to the launch of the SAFER program include South, Wheeler, California, McCone, Barker, North Gate, and University halls, Moffitt Library, Doe Library, the Hearst Memorial Mining Building, 2607 Hearst, 2401 Bancroft, 6701 San Pablo, Harmon Gymnasium (now Haas Pavilion), and University House.

The 1997 Seismic Evaluation

Following the adoption of The Regents’ Policy on Seismic Safety, several major seismic events have occurred in urban areas. The Loma Prieta, Northridge, and Kobe (Japan) earthquakes have provided a wealth of knowledge of seismicity and building behavior. With this knowledge, and in consideration of the age of campus buildings, Berkeley’s proximity to the Hayward Fault, and its obligation to provide safe facilities for students, faculty, and staff, the Berkeley campus commissioned a new review of its buildings in the summer of 1997.

The 1997 Preliminary Seismic Evaluation, Phase 1 Report, conducted jointly by three renowned structural engineering firms (Degenkolb Engineers; Rutherford & Chekene, Consulting Engineers; and Forell/Elsesser Engineers), analyzed the probable performance of campus structures under a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault. The three firms reviewed architectural and structural drawings of nearly all campus buildings, walked through each, and assigned a performance rating to each. The survey methodology included comprehensive peer review and utilized several earthquake/seismic rating models to ensure consistency.

The $250,000 survey revealed that the amount of campus space in need of corrective seismic work represents approximately 27 percent of the main campus’s total assignable square feet (ASF).