Engineering Geology of the Proposed Nuclear Power Plant on Bodega Head, Sonoma County, California

By Julius Schlocker1 and M.G. Bonilla1

Prepared on behalf of the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission and approved for public release by the Director, U.S. Geological Survey

October, 1964

1345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025


This report summarizes and interprets the geologic data presented in previous reports by the Geological Survey. These data bear on the possible effect of large magnitude earthquakes on the foundation of the proposed nuclear power plant on Bodega Head, California. The crucial geologic problem at the proposed plant site is to predict the probability of a sudden permanent displacement, by rupturing, of the foundation rock of the reactor during an earthquake. Any such prediction must be based to a great extent on experience in earthquake-affected regions particularly near the San Andreas and related fault zones. The degree of confidence assigned to such predictions is necessarily low because geologic knowledge of the phenomena being evaluated is incomplete. An upper limit on the probability of faulting at the site is set by the probability of occurrence of severe earthquakes (Richter magnitude 8.0 and above) along the San Andreas fault near the Bodega Head site. Several highly qualified seismologists have estimated that the Bodega Head site will experience a severe earthquake in the next 50 years, the assumed lifetime of the plant.

map of borehole
Bottom of shaft showing faults and probable offset on Shaft fault

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Date created: December 8, 1999
Last modified: December 2, 2005

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