San Francisco can be a tough place live for a lot of reasons. Sky-high housing prices can make it nearly impossible to find a place. In February, a 1,000-square-foot home with no working plumbing and a pile of rotting mattresses stacked in the kitchen sold for more than $520,000.
Even tech moguls and startup founders are having trouble finding homes in an area where nearly every spare piece of real estate is gobbled up by the highest bidder. One firm estimated that a home buyer needs to make about $300,000 a year just to afford a median-priced abode.
But San Francisco isn’t just perilously overpriced: It’s also perpetually teetering on the edge of disaster. If earthquakes don’t shake down your workplace, consider that the city is literally sinking into mud — and into trash in certain places.
Real-estate woes aside, here are the ways that scientists know living in the Bay Area is not for the faint of heart:
The well-known San Andreas Fault is just one of the seven “significant fault zones” the US Geological Survey cites in the Bay Area. The others are the Calaveras, Concord-Green Valley, Greenville, Hayward, Rodgers Creek, and San Gregorio Faults.
People who live in the area experience small earthquakes and shakes all the time. Just this week, there have been a 2.9 and 3.0 shake in Aromas, California, 1 hour and 40 minutes south of the city.
It’s the bigger, disastrous quakes scientists are really worried about. And they say San Francisco is due for another soon.
In 2007, the USGS determined that there was about a “63% probability of a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake in the Bay Area” by 2037.
Estimates have only gotten worse since then. One recent report suggests that there was a 76% chance the Bay Area would experience a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the next 30 years.
Seismologists are most concerned about two fault lines in particular: the San Andreas and the Hayward.
Anything higher than a 7.9 on the San Andreas Fault line, which runs from Mendocino to Mexico, would put “approximately 100%” of the population of San Francisco at risk, while a 6.9 quake from the Hayward Fault could spell trouble for nearly everyone who lives and works there, according to the city.