1868 Hayward earthquake

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1868 Hayward earthquake
1868 Alameda County Courthouse Hayward earthquake damage.png
Damage to the Alameda County courthouse with inset showing building before the earthquake
1868 Hayward earthquake is located in California
1868 Hayward earthquake
Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
UTC time1868-10-21 15:53
Local dateOctober 21, 1868 (1868-10-21)
Local time07:53[1]
Magnitude6.3–6.7 Mw[2]
Epicenter37°42′N 122°06′W / 37.7°N 122.1°W / 37.7; -122.1Coordinates: 37°42′N 122°06′W / 37.7°N 122.1°W / 37.7; -122.1[3]
FaultHayward Fault Zone
Areas affectedSan Francisco Bay Area
United States
Total damage$350,000 / Moderate [4]
Max. intensityIX (Violent) [3]
Damaged building in Hayward (top) and at the Hayward stud mill

The 1868 Hayward earthquake occurred in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, United States on October 21. With an estimated moment magnitude of 6.3–6.7 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), it was the most recent large earthquake to occur on the Hayward Fault Zone. It caused significant damage and a number of deaths throughout the region, and was known as the "Great San Francisco earthquake" prior to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.


The earthquake occurred at 7:53 a.m. on October 21, 1868. Its epicenter was likely located near Hayward, California, and its magnitude has been estimated to have been 6.3–6.7 on the moment magnitude scale. At the surface, ground rupture was traced for 20 miles (32 km), from San Leandro to what is now the Warm Springs District in Fremont.[1]


The town of Hayward experienced the most damage, with nearly every building destroyed or significantly damaged in the earthquake. The Alameda County Courthouse in San Leandro was destroyed, which resulted in the re-location of the County Seat to Oakland, its current site. The adobe chapel of Mission San José in what is now Fremont was also destroyed, as were several buildings in San Jose, San Francisco and throughout Alameda County. Damage was reported from Santa Rosa in the north to Gilroy and Santa Cruz in the south. Thirty deaths were attributed to the earthquake.[1]


The United States Geological Survey estimates that Hayward experienced shaking measuring IX (Violent) on the modified Mercalli scale. San Leandro experienced shaking measuring VIII (Severe), while San Francisco and Oakland experienced shaking measuring VII (Very strong).[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Historic Earthquakes: Hayward, California, 1868 October 21 15:53 UTC". United States Geological Survey. 1993. Archived from the original on 5 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  2. ^ Hough, S. E.; Martin, S. S. (2015), "The 1868 Hayward Fault, California, Earthquake: Implications for Earthquake Scaling Relations on Partially Creeping Faults", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 105 (6): 2984, 2907, Bibcode:2015BuSSA.105.2894H, doi:10.1785/0120140372
  3. ^ a b c Stover, C.W.; Coffman, J.L. (1993). Seismicity of the United States, 1568–1989 (Revised). U.S. Geological Survey professional paper 1527. United States Government Printing Office. pp. 73, 104.
  4. ^ National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS) (1972), "Significant Earthquake Information", NCEI/WDS Global Significant Earthquake Database (Data Set), National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA, doi:10.7289/V5TD9V7K
  5. ^ The 1868 Hayward Earthquake: 139 years and counting... (press conference). Hayward Area Historical and Society Museum: U.S. Geological Survey, Association of Bay Area Governments, Hayward Area Historical and Society Museum, Vice Mayor-City of Hayward. 17 October 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2008.

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