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GMEG - Geology, Minerals, Energy, & Geophysics Science Center

Seismic Hazards in the Sacramento Delta


Issue / Impacts / Project Objectives / Staff

The Sacramento - San Joaquin River Delta is a critical locus of water resources and endangered/threatened species. The ecosystem and the water resource are strongly affected by an extensive set of levees enclosing artificial islands created for agricultural use. These levees are susceptible to extensive damage from even moderate ground shaking caused by either a large earthquake on one of the high-activity faults in the nearby San Francisco Bay region or a moderate or larger earthquake on one of the low-activity faults in the Delta region itself. Important parts of the earthquake hazard, however, are poorly constrained. The following questions remain unanswered or insufficiently answered.

Are some parts of the Delta less susceptible to earthquake damage than others?

What is the role of the underlying geology in the amount of shaking we should expect?

How likely are various damaging earthquake scenarios?


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