Why Liquefaction Matters in San Francisco

One of the most important things to be aware of when you’re house hunting in San Francisco is where our liquefaction zones are. These are areas that sit on landfill, and have less stable soil. So any buildings that are in liquefaction zones won’t perform as well in an earthquake as ones that are, say, on bedrock. (I’ll let Wikipedia explain it in more detail here.)

Yes, people are buying and selling property all the time who live in what are deemed liquefaction zones. Some of the most popular neighborhoods, in fact, are those which are very much a part of these zones. Think South Beach, the Marina, North Beach, Mission Bay, South of Market, and the Mission.

That’s because the more modern the building, the better the engineering. Properties built more recently are designed to withstand large earthquakes, particularly those properties situated in liquefaction zones. Of course, if the big one hits, it won’t be just homes in liquefaction zones that are affected.

It’s also key to know the condition of your foundation and whether there have been any seismic upgrades.

To really drill down on liquefaction zones, I recommend referencing the liquefaction map. View and download it here.

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