There have been more than a dozen damaging earthquakes in the
greater Bay Area in the last 200 years. Prior to 1906, the great
earthquake of the Bay Area was the October 21st,1868 earthquake
on the Hayward fault. For many years, it was thought that
another damaging earthquake occurred in 1836 on the northern
Hayward fault. That earthquake was relocated by Glenn Borchardt
and Tousson Toppozada (1996) to the San Andreas fault near San
A strong earthquake estimated to have been about magnitude 6.8
occurred in the East Bay at 7:50 am on October 21st, 1868 on the
southern segment of the Hayward fault. Destruction occurred
throughout the Bay Area. Almost every building in Hayward was
damaged and many were completely wrecked. Photographs below are
taken from the 1908 Carnegie Institute of Washington Report,
“The California Earthquake of April 18, 1906, Report of the
State Earthquake Investigation Commission”. This report, also
called the Lawson Report, gives a detailed discussion of the
effects of the 1868 Hayward earthquake,
Flour mill, Hayward. Wrecked by earthquake of 1868.
Edmonson's warehouse, Hayward. Wrecked by earthquake of
Pierce's house, Hayward. Earthquake of 1868.
Courthouse, San Leandro. Wrecked by earthquake of 1868.
Buildings in San Francisco that were on land-fill
also suffered considerable damage in the
1868 Hayward earthquake.
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