Vincent Kabl…, Home Buyer in Los Altos Hills, CA

Earth quake risk comparison between Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto

Asked by Vincent Kabler, Los Altos Hills, CA Wed Jan 2, 2013

Looking at the faults it seems that Los Altos Hills has a much higher risk compared to Pal Alto when the "big one" comes.

Do you agree ?

Help the community by answering this question:


Here is a post with many links that may be helpful:

Earthquakes And Your Home: 5 Critical Things You Need To Understand…

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
In any area there are differing levels of soil stability so you are likely going to have some areas of Palo Alto be better and vice versa. If you are really concerned have a soils engineer come out and look at the property. The quality of construction, level of seismic upgrading, and condition of the property are also going to have a lot to do with what happens in a big earthquake.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
No one has a crystal ball and no one can predict the volatility and/or vulnerability any geographic area has when it comes to earthquakes. The US Geological Survey (USGS), Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) and CAL TECH probably have the best overall risk assessment analysis there is for calculating potential major events.

Regardless of where you wish to invest in real estate in most of California, as almost the entire State is in a Zone IV seismic area, you need to make sure that the structure/s are constructed or retrofitted to meet the necessary seismic standards for that particular area.

But all that stated there is no guarantee that a major seismic event won't heavily impact any area at any given time. Did the victims of Hurricane Sandy ever imagine suffering such a huge loss just a couple of weeks before?

Here's a couple of links you may want to peruse.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Hello again Vincent,
As Grace indicates this and many similar questions are answered by the numerous inspections and disclosures which are provided to the buyer during the escrow period. There should be no "buyer beware"(Caveat Emptor) in a correctly handled purchase.
FYI the report she refers to is approx 60 pages long and provides definitive information on all Natural Hazard possibilities.
Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Only a geologist can tell you the composition of soil beneath each geographic location and can then tell you the likely movement of the land in an earthquake. Also remember that Palo Alto encompasses both hill area as well as bay lands, while Los Altos has no bay land exposure and thus greatly reduced possibilities of liquefaction. So risk is relative, depending on the area.

To better understand risk in any area, check the natural hazard reports for the properties in question as this will provide you with more information about the zones and locations of active faults in the areas.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 2, 2013
Flag Thu Jan 3, 2013
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