"On October 21, 1868, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay region. Although the region was then sparsely populated, this quake on the Hayward Fault was one of the most destructive in California's history. Recent studies show that such powerful Hayward Fault quakes have repeatedly jolted the region in the past. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists describe this fault as a tectonic time bomb, due anytime for another magnitude 6.8 to 7.0 earthquake. Because such a quake could cause hundreds of deaths, leave thousands homeless, and devastate the region's economy, the USGS and other organizations are working together with new urgency to help prepare Bay Area communities for this certain future quake."
U.S. Geological Survey: http://www.usgs.gov/