Pasadena Unified to Re-Examine Age of Faults Under San Rafael Elementary School Campus

The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) will start preliminary testing this month to begin determining the exact age of the faults that pass under the San Rafael Elementary School campus, pending board approval.

In 2012 an extensive fault rupture investigation was conducted at the San Rafael School site in preparation for modernization projects under the Measure TT facilities bond. As part of the initial and more extensive testing, it was found that there appeared to be four active earthquake faults on the school property, with an approximately 90% probability for each one existing and being active (exhibiting evidence of seismic activity at some point within the past 11,700 years). With this discovery the board was provided information that the Department of State Architect will not allow or approve plans to move forward with any modernization or upgrades on any school facility that is within 50 feet of any earthquake faults. It is important to note that the San Rafael Elementary School site meets Field Act standards, which are more stringent for K-12 public schools than for any other buildings, including homes and businesses.

In the wake of the discovery of faults, a 7-11 Surplus Property Advisory Committee was convened in 2014. The committee recognized the strong desire in the community to maintain a school on the San Rafael campus and recommended the continuation of seismic investigation to determine if the identified faults or anomalies are active or not. The preliminary tests that are about to begin are in line with the committee’s primary recommendation. These tests, which will likely lead to trenching on the school campus, will determine with 99% certainty whether or not the faults are active. Any trenching would be limited to the San Rafael campus and take place during the school’s summer recess. If determined to be inactive, the district would be able to proceed with the modernization of the school.

The PUSD Board of Education is scheduled to approve Phase 1 testing and authorize a bid process for Phase 2 trenching at the San Rafael Campus as part of its next regular meeting on May 21, 2015. To view the 7-11 Committee report, please visit


blog comments powered by Disqus

Pasadena Now has been published daily since April, 2004 and is among the very oldest continously operated community news websites in the U.S.

Pasadena Now strives to publish a full spectrum of news and information articles in service to the entire community. The publication will remain free to readers and will not erect paywalls.

Pasadena Now strives to provide factual, unbiased reporting. Our opinion section is open to all.