Having lived in California all my life, and seeing firsthand the destructive power of earthquakes, I knew that I wanted to buy a home on stable ground. That’s one of the reasons it took us three years of looking almost every weekend (from 1992 - to 1995) to find a home that (a) had a view of silicon valley and was in a natural setting where you could not neighbors’ homes from your home (b) had some acreage, (c) was close to an open space preserve and far enough from the freeway so you can’t hear the freeway (d) was mostly flat - with plenty of parking, and (e) was on stable ground.
These days it is much easier to get the maps showing the seismic zones and predicted shaking. Back then I had to do a lot of reasearch to figure out what zones were off limits and it took some time to figure out where the safe areas were. After looking at many homes in Portola Valley and Woodside and discovering that such a large percentage either on a fault, in a liquefecation zone, or in a earthquake induced landslide zone, we essentially ruled those areas out. We kept coming back to Los Altos Hills as a consistently good place to be in an earthquake because significant areas are on bedrock. However, even within Los Altos Hills you have to do your homework to find a home on stable ground. The State of California seismic maps are an excellent resource. Here’s a close up showing the Loyola Corners area of the Cupertino Quadrangle.
Key to Seismic Zones:
Green= areas subject to earthquake induced landslided
Blue = areas subject to liquefaction
White = Good!
In this map the blue areas are earthquake induced landslide zones and the green areas are liquefaction zones. Having lived through the 89 quake and seeing friends lose their homes (even ones 50 to 100 miles from the Loma Prieta epicenter) due to landslide or liquefacation, I decided that finding a home on bedrock would be a key search criteria in the search. The dot shows the approximate location of Moraquita (near the water tank).
Here’s a link to the full map of the Cutpertino Quadrangle:
Other folks blogging about earthquakes:
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