It’s Our Fault Hike revealed hidden seismic activity

Jenny Hammer led a wonderful Trail Trekker hike, “It’s Our Fault,” this past Saturday, that explored the Hayward Fault as it makes its way through the El Cerrito Hills and East Richmond Heights.

This hiker is straddling a section of pavement on Olive Street in East Richmond Heights that has shifted due to the movement of the Hayward Fault.

Over fifty hikers attended this El Cerrito centennial hike and benefited from the expertise of Dr. David P. Schwartz, a Seismic Geologist from the U.S. Geological Survey, who has done much research on the fault and on earthquake and seismic issues. The hike was also useful in providing information about what we can do to prepare for the inevitable quake as the CERT Area 2 Coordinator Marlene Keller, was on hand to answer questions and distribute information about disaster/earthquake safety.

What was great about the hike was how it made the experience of  the Hayward Fault seem very real. You could actually see the fault, on the Berkeley Country Club (formerly Mira Vista) golf course, and crossing actual streets in East Richmond Heights.

You could see where sections of curb have been cracked and shifted (or offset) over the years by the gradual slippage of land along the fault. You could even straddle these sections, which many hikers did.

At one point, as we were talking about and looking at several homes that sit directly above the fault, the owner of one home nearby joined the discussion.

And then, in a special, unexpected treat of the sort that often occurs on Trekker hikes, we were warmly welcomed into and visited the beautiful Gyuto Foundation Tibetan Buddhist monastery, where we not only admired the Tibetan art and gardens — but were able to see how the reinforced concrete building has been pulled apart by the tectonic forces associated with our very own Hayward Fault.

Jenny had arranged the visit in advance, of course!

One bit of good news about this hike is, we plan to repeat it and will add more and different aspects. We’re not sure of the date for “It’s Our Fault: Redux” but you can keep apprised of this and our other upcoming hikes by signing on to our email list or by joining El Cerrito Trail Trekkers. Both can be done from our website,

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