List of earthquakes in California

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The San Andreas Fault system is the source of most of California's earthquakes

Earthquakes in California are common occurrences since the state is located on the San Andreas Fault, which cuts across California and forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific and the North American Plate. There are many thousands of small earthquakes per year, most of them so small that they are not felt. California's complex landscape can be attributed to the network of faulting that runs through the state. The earliest reported earthquake in California was felt in 1769 by the Portola expedition about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, probably near the San Andreas Fault.[1][2]

Summary[edit]

California has over 100 active faults throughout the state which are known to produce large earthquakes. The most active of these is the San Jacinto Fault Zone in Southern California, which has produced large events on a regular basis throughout recent history. The Mendocino Triple Junction located offshore of Northern California is also very active, producing many earthquakes above M6 throughout history.[3] Northern California is also subject to megathrust earthquakes on the Cascadia subduction zone (extending north from Mendocino), such as the 1700 Cascadia earthquake, magnitude of approximately 9. The town of Parkfield in central California is located on a section of the San Andreas Fault that produces an earthquake of about M6 every 20–30 years on average in 1857, 1881, 1901, 1922, 1934, 1966 and 2004.[4]

The largest recorded earthquake in California was the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 7.9. This earthquake ruptured the San Andreas Fault from Parkfield to Wrightwood, a distance of 225 miles (350 km). The most destructive earthquake to date was the 7.8 magnitude 1906 San Francisco earthquake, when more than 3000 people perished in the earthquake and the fires that followed. The 1906 quake ruptured the northern segment of the San Andreas Fault for 296 miles (477 km), from San Juan Bautista to near Cape Mendocino in the north.[5] More recently, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which registered 6.9 and affected the San Francisco bay area,[6] and the 1994 Northridge earthquake which registered 6.7 and hit the Greater Los Angeles area,[7] caused widespread damage and deaths in their respective regions.

Earthquakes[edit]

Note: Listed items include earthquakes with epicenters that are offshore, in an adjacent U.S. state, or in Baja California, Mexico. Stated fatalities are not limited to California.

YearDateTime (UTC)Time
local
AreaMagDeathsCoordinatesCommentsRefs
1769July 2821:0013:00Santa Ana River6.033°54′N 117°48′W / 33.9°N 117.8°W / 33.9; -117.8Portola Expedition earthquake. Four strong shocks felt[8]
1800November 2221:3013:30San Diego6.533°00′N 117°18′W / 33.0°N 117.3°W / 33.0; -117.3Building damage in San Diego and San Juan Capistrano[8]
1812December 815:0007:00Wrightwood6.94034°22′N 117°39′W / 34.37°N 117.65°W / 34.37; -117.651812 Wrightwood earthquake[9]
1812December 2119:0011:00Santa Barbara7.1134°12′N 119°54′W / 34.2°N 119.9°W / 34.2; -119.91812 Santa Barbara earthquake[9]
1838JuneSan Francisco Peninsula7.037°36′N 122°24′W / 37.6°N 122.4°W / 37.6; -122.41838 San Francisco earthquake[9]
1857January 916:2408:24Parkfield-Wrightwood7.9135°42′N 120°18′W / 35.7°N 120.3°W / 35.7; -120.31857 Fort Tejon earthquake[9]
1865October 820:4612:46Santa Cruz Mountains6.337°12′N 121°54′W / 37.2°N 121.9°W / 37.2; -121.91865 San Francisco earthquake[10]
1868October 2115:5307:53Hayward6.83037°42′N 122°06′W / 37.70°N 122.10°W / 37.70; -122.101868 Hayward earthquake[10]
1872March 2610:3002:30Owens Valley7.32736°42′N 118°06′W / 36.7°N 118.1°W / 36.7; -118.11872 Lone Pine earthquake[11]
1873November 2305:00Cape Mendocino6.742°00′N 124°00′W / 42.0°N 124.0°W / 42.0; -124.0[12]
1892February 2307:2023:20Imperial Valley7.832°33′N 115°38′W / 32.55°N 115.63°W / 32.55; -115.631892 Laguna Salada earthquake[13]
1892April 1910:5002:50Vacaville6.4138°24′N 122°00′W / 38.4°N 122.0°W / 38.4; -122.0Doublet earthquake[14]
1892April 2117:4309:43Winters6.238°30′N 121°54′W / 38.5°N 121.9°W / 38.5; -121.9[14]
1898March 3107:43Mare Island6.238°12′N 122°24′W / 38.2°N 122.4°W / 38.2; -122.4[15]
1898April 1507:07Greenwood6.939°12′N 123°48′W / 39.2°N 123.8°W / 39.2; -123.8[15]
1899December 2512:2504:25San Jacinto6.7633°48′N 117°00′W / 33.8°N 117.0°W / 33.8; -117.01899 San Jacinto earthquake[16]
1906April 1813:1205:12San Francisco7.8700–300037°42′N 122°30′W / 37.7°N 122.5°W / 37.7; -122.51906 San Francisco earthquake[17]
1911July 122:00Coyote6.637°15′N 121°45′W / 37.25°N 121.75°W / 37.25; -121.751911 Calaveras earthquake[18][19]
1915June 22 (local)
June 23 (UTC)
03:59Imperial Valley5.5632°48′N 115°30′W / 32.8°N 115.50°W / 32.8; -115.50Doublet earthquake[20]
1915June 22 (local)
June 23 (UTC)
04:56Imperial Valley5.532°48′N 115°30′W / 32.8°N 115.50°W / 32.8; -115.50[20]
1918April 2122:3214:32San Jacinto6.7133°45′N 117°00′W / 33.75°N 117.0°W / 33.75; -117.01918 San Jacinto earthquake[21]
1922January 3113:17Cape Mendocino7.240°42′N 125°33′W / 40.7°N 125.55°W / 40.7; -125.55[22]
1923January 2209:0401:04Cape Mendocino7.140°29′N 125°19′W / 40.49°N 125.32°W / 40.49; -125.321923 Cape Mendocino earthquake[22]
1925June 2914:4406:44Santa Barbara6.81334°18′N 119°48′W / 34.30°N 119.80°W / 34.30; -119.801925 Santa Barbara earthquake[23]
1927Nov 413:51Point Arguello7.034°55′N 121°02′W / 34.92°N 121.03°W / 34.92; -121.03[24]
1932June 608:4400:44Cape Mendocino6.4140°45′N 124°30′W / 40.75°N 124.50°W / 40.75; -124.501932 Eureka earthquake[25]
1933March 10 (local)
March 11 (UTC)
01:5417:54Long Beach6.311533°36′N 118°00′W / 33.6°N 118.0°W / 33.6; -118.01933 Long Beach earthquake[26]
1937March 2516:4908:49Anza, Hemet, and Palm Springs5.633°24′N 116°16′W / 33.4°N 116.26°W / 33.4; -116.26[27]
1940May 18 (local)
May 19 (UTC)
04:3620:36Imperial Valley6.9932°43′59″N 115°30′00″W / 32.733°N 115.5°W / 32.733; -115.51940 El Centro earthquake[28]
1942October 2116:2209:22Fish Creek Mountains6.632°58′N 116°00′W / 32.97°N 116.00°W / 32.97; -116.001942 Fish Creek Mountains earthquake[29]
1947April 1015:5807:58Newberry Springs6.534°59′N 116°33′W / 34.98°N 116.55°W / 34.98; -116.551947 Manix earthquake[30]
1948December 423:4315:43near Desert Hot Springs6.533°56′N 116°23′W / 33.93°N 116.38°W / 33.93; -116.381948 Desert Hot Springs earthquake[31]
1952July 2111:5204:52Kern County7.31235°00′N 119°01′W / 35.00°N 119.02°W / 35.00; -119.021952 Kern County earthquake[32]
1954March 1909:5401:54west of Salton City6.433°17′N 116°11′W / 33.28°N 116.18°W / 33.28; -116.181954 Arroyo Salada earthquake[33]
1954December 2119:5611:56Cape Mendocino6.5140°47′N 124°10′W / 40.78°N 124.17°W / 40.78; -124.171954 Eureka earthquake[34]
1957March 2219:4411:44Daly City5.3137°40′N 122°29′W / 37.67°N 122.48°W / 37.67; -122.481957 Daly City earthquake[35]
1968April 8 (local)
April 9 (UTC)
02:2818:28Ocotillo Wells6.533°11′N 116°08′W / 33.19°N 116.13°W / 33.19; -116.131968 Borrego Mountain earthquake[36]
1971February 914:0106:01San Fernando6.46534°24′N 118°24′W / 34.4°N 118.4°W / 34.4; -118.41971 San Fernando earthquake[37]
1979October 1523:1616:16Imperial Valley6.532°38′N 115°19′W / 32.63°N 115.32°W / 32.63; -115.321979 Imperial Valley earthquake[38]
1980January 2419:0011:00Livermore5.837°52′N 121°49′W / 37.86°N 121.82°W / 37.86; -121.821980 Livermore earthquake[39]
1980November 810:2702:27Cape Mendocino7.341°07′N 124°18′W / 41.11°N 124.3°W / 41.11; -124.31980 Humboldt County earthquake[40]
1983May 222:4215:42Coalinga6.4136°14′N 120°19′W / 36.23°N 120.31°W / 36.23; -120.311983 Coalinga earthquake[23]
1984April 2421:1513:15Morgan Hill6.237°19′N 121°41′W / 37.31°N 121.68°W / 37.31; -121.681984 Morgan Hill earthquake[23]
1986July 809:2002:20North Palm Springs6.034°00′N 116°36′W / 34.0°N 116.60°W / 34.0; -116.601986 North Palm Springs earthquake[41]
1986July 1313:4706:47Oceanside5.8133°01′N 117°47′W / 33.02°N 117.79°W / 33.02; -117.791986 Oceanside earthquake[41]
1986July 2114:4207:42Chalfant Valley6.237°32′N 118°27′W / 37.54°N 118.45°W / 37.54; -118.451986 Chalfant Valley earthquake[41]
1987October 114:4207:42Whittier Narrows5.9834°04′N 118°05′W / 34.06°N 118.08°W / 34.06; -118.081987 Whittier Narrows earthquake[42]
1987November 23 (local)
November 24 (UTC)
01:5417:54Elmore Desert Ranch6.033°05′N 115°47′W / 33.08°N 115.78°W / 33.08; -115.781987 Elmore Ranch earthquake (related to the Superstition Hills earthquake)[43]
1987November 2414:1506:15Superstition Hills6.533°01′N 115°50′W / 33.01°N 115.84°W / 33.01; -115.841987 Superstition Hills earthquake[43]
1989October 17 (local)
October 18 (UTC)
00:0417:04Santa Cruz Mountains6.96337°00′N 121°54′W / 37.0°N 121.9°W / 37.0; -121.91989 Loma Prieta earthquake[44]
1991June 2814:4307:43Sierra Madre5.6234°16′N 118°00′W / 34.26°N 118.00°W / 34.26; -118.001991 Sierra Madre earthquake[45][46]
1992April 22 (local)
April 23 (UTC)
04:5021:50Joshua Tree6.133°58′N 116°19′W / 33.96°N 116.32°W / 33.96; -116.321992 Joshua Tree earthquake[47]
1992April 2518:0611:06Cape Mendocino7.240°20′N 124°14′W / 40.33°N 124.23°W / 40.33; -124.231992 Cape Mendocino earthquakes[23]
1992June 2811:5704:57Landers7.3334°11′N 116°32′W / 34.18°N 116.53°W / 34.18; -116.531992 Landers earthquake[48]
1992June 2815:0508:05Big Bear6.534°17′N 116°49′W / 34.29°N 116.82°W / 34.29; -116.821992 Big Bear earthquake[49]
1993May 1723:2016:20Eureka Valley6.037°08′46″N 117°49′26″W / 37.146°N 117.824°W / 37.146; -117.8241993 Eureka Valley earthquake[50]
1994January 1712:3004:30Northridge6.76034°12′N 118°30′W / 34.2°N 118.5°W / 34.2; -118.51994 Northridge earthquake[44]
1999October 1609:4602:46Hector Mine7.234°31′N 116°26′W / 34.51°N 116.43°W / 34.51; -116.431999 Hector Mine earthquake[51]
2003December 2219:1511:15San Simeon6.6235°43′N 121°06′W / 35.71°N 121.10°W / 35.71; -121.102003 San Simeon earthquake[52]
2004September 2817:1510:15Parkfield6.035°49′N 120°22′W / 35.82°N 120.37°W / 35.82; -120.372004 Parkfield earthquake[53]
2005June 1215:4108:41Anza5.233°32′N 116°35′W / 33.53°N 116.58°W / 33.53; -116.582005 Anza earthquake[54]
2005June 14 (PDT)
June 15 (UTC)
02:5019:50Cape Mendocino7.241°17′N 125°59′W / 41.28°N 125.98°W / 41.28; -125.98A tsunami warning and a 26 cm (10 in) wave at Crescent City. 6,000 (est) evacuated[55][56][57][58]
2007October 30 (local)
October 31 (UTC)
03:0420:04Alum Rock5.637°26′N 121°46′W / 37.43°N 121.77°W / 37.43; -121.772007 Alum Rock earthquake[59]
2008July 2918:4211:42Chino Hills5.433°58′N 117°46′W / 33.96°N 117.76°W / 33.96; -117.762008 Chino Hills earthquake[60]
2009May 17 (PDT)
May 18 (UTC)
03:3920:39Inglewood4.733°56′N 118°21′W / 33.94°N 118.35°W / 33.94; -118.352009 Inglewood earthquake[61]
2010January 9 (PST)
January 10 (UTC)
00:2716:27Cape Mendocino6.540°39′N 124°46′W / 40.65°N 124.76°W / 40.65; -124.762010 Eureka earthquake[62]
2010March 1611:0404:04Pico Rivera4.433°59′31″N 118°04′55″W / 33.992°N 118.082°W / 33.992; -118.0822010 Pico Rivera earthquake[63]
2010April 422:4015:40northern Baja California7.2332°07′41″N 115°18′11″W / 32.128°N 115.303°W / 32.128; -115.3032010 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake[64]
2010June 14 (PDT)
June 15 (UTC)
04:2621:26Ocotillo5.732°41′53″N 115°55′26″W / 32.698°N 115.924°W / 32.698; -115.9242010 El Mayor-Cucapah aftershock[65]
2010July 723:5316:53Borrego Springs5.433°25′N 116°29′W / 33.42°N 116.48°W / 33.42; -116.482010 Borrego Springs earthquake[66]
2012August 2604:30Brawley4.9, 5.3, 5.42012 Brawley Earthquake Swarm[67]
2012December 1410:3602:36Off the southwest coast of Catalina Island6.331°12′N 119°36′W / 31.2°N 119.6°W / 31.2; -119.62012 Avalon Earthquake[68]
2013May 23 (PDT)
May 24 (UTC)
03:4720:47near Lake Almanor, Greenville5.740°11′24″N 121°03′40″W / 40.190°N 121.061°W / 40.190; -121.061(swarm)USGS
2014March 9 (PDT)
March 10 (UTC)
05:1821:18Cape Mendocino6.840°49′16″N 125°07′41″W / 40.821°N 125.128°W / 40.821; -125.128[69]
2014March 17 (PDT)
March 17 (UTC)
13:2506:25Westwood, Los Angeles4.434°08′06″N 118°29′10″W / 34.135°N 118.486°W / 34.135; -118.486[70]
2014March 28 (PDT)
March 29 (UTC)
04:0921:09La Habra5.133°55′08″N 117°56′38″W / 33.919°N 117.944°W / 33.919; -117.944[71]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Earthquake History for California". Info from USGS. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  2. ^ "Earthquake Facts". data from USGS. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  3. ^ Mendocino Triple Junction Offshore Northern California
  4. ^ The Parkfield, California, Earthquake Experiment USGS
  5. ^ The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake USGS
  6. ^ "October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake". data from USGS. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  7. ^ "January 17, 1994 Northridge, CA Earthquake". Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  8. ^ a b Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 72, 99
  9. ^ a b c d Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 72, 100
  10. ^ a b Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 73, 104
  11. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 73, 105–107
  12. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 73, 108
  13. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 74, 110
  14. ^ a b Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 74, 111, 112
  15. ^ a b Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 74, 112
  16. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 74, 113
  17. ^ Utsu 2002, p. 702
  18. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 75, 120
  19. ^ Wood, H. O. (1912). "On the region of origin of the Central Californian earthquakes of July, August and September, 1911". Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (Seismological Society of America) 2 (1): 31–39. 
  20. ^ a b Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 76, 121
  21. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 76, 122
  22. ^ a b Engdahl & Vallaseñor 2002, p. 674
  23. ^ a b c d Toppozada & Branum 2004, p. 511
  24. ^ Engdahl & Vallaseñor 2002, p. 675
  25. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 78, 129, 130
  26. ^ Utsu 2002, p. 705
  27. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 80, 134
  28. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 81, 135, 136
  29. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 82, 137
  30. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 82, 138
  31. ^ Richter, C. F.; Allen, C. R.; Nordquist, J. M. (1958), "The Desert Hot Springs earthquakes and their tectonic environment", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (Seismological Society of America) 48: 315 
  32. ^ Bawden, G. W. (2001), "Source parameters for the 1952 Kern County earthquake, California: A joint inversion of leveling and triangulation observations", Journal of Geophysical Research (American Geophysical Union) 106 (B1): 771 
  33. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 88, 137
  34. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 88, 148
  35. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 88, 150
  36. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 91, 154
  37. ^ Utsu 2002, p. 708
  38. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 94, 166
  39. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 94, 166, 167
  40. ^ Engdahl & Vallaseñor 2002, p. 683
  41. ^ a b c Pacheco, J.; Nabelek, J. (1988), "Source mechanisms of three moderate California earthquakes of July 1986", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (Seismological Society of America) 78 (6): 1908 
  42. ^ Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 98, 178, 179
  43. ^ a b Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 98, 179, 180
  44. ^ a b Utsu 2002, p. 709
  45. ^ SCEDC - Sierra Madre Earthquake (1991)
  46. ^ Historic Earthquakes - Southern California USGS
  47. ^ SCEDC - Joshua Tree Earthquake (1992)
  48. ^ Engdahl & Vallaseñor 2002, p. 685
  49. ^ "M6.5 - Southern California (BETA)". USGS. 
  50. ^ "M6.0 - Central California (BETA) 1993-05-17 23:20:51 UTC". USGS. 
  51. ^ Engdahl & Vallaseñor 2002, p. 686
  52. ^ "Magnitude 6.6 - CENTRAL CALIFORNIA". USGS. 
  53. ^ Bakun, W. H.; Aagaard, B.; Dost, B.; Ellsworth, W. L.; Hardebeck, J. L.; Harris, R. A.; Ji, C.; Johnston, M. J. S.; Langbein, J.; Lienkaemper, J. J.; Michael, A. J.; Murray, J. R.; Nadeau, R. M.; Reasenberg, P. A.; Reichle, M. S.; Roeloffs, E. A.; Shakal, A.; Simpson, R. W.; Waldhauser, F. (2005), "Implications for prediction and hazard assessment from the 2004 Parkfield earthquake", Nature (Nature Publishing Group) 437: 969 
  54. ^ CISN: M5.2 near Anza California Integrated Seismic Network
  55. ^ "Magnitude 7.2 - OFF THE COAST OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA". USGS. 
  56. ^ Finz, Stacy; Fulbright, Leslie; Van Derbeken, Jaxon (June 15, 2005). "7.0 quake shakes up North Coast / Crescent City residents flee after tsunami warning". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  57. ^ http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eq_depot/2005/eq_050615/neic_ziae_nr.html
  58. ^ http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2005/07/research.html
  59. ^ "M5.6 - San Francisco Bay area, California (BETA)". USGS. 
  60. ^ Hauksson, E.; Felzer, K.; Given, D.; Giveon, M.; Hough, S.; Hutton, K.; Kanamori, H. (2008), "Preliminary report on the 29 July 2008 Mw 5.4 Chino Hills, Eastern Los Angeles Basin, California, earthquake sequence", Seismological Research Letters (Seismological Society of America) 79 (6): 857 
  61. ^ "M4.7 - Greater Los Angeles area, California (BETA)". USGS. 
  62. ^ Magnitude 6.5 - OFFSHORE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA USGS
  63. ^ Magnitude 4.4 - GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA USGS
  64. ^ "M7.2 - Baja California, Mexico (BETA)". USGS. 
  65. ^ "M5.8 - Southern California (BETA)". USGS. 
  66. ^ "Poster of the Southern California Earthquake of 07 July 2010 - Magnitude 5.4". USGS. 
  67. ^ Hauksson, E.; Stock, J.; Bilham, R.; Boese, M.; Chen, X.; Fielding, E. J.; Galetzka, J.; Hudnut, K. W.; Hutton, K.; Jones, L. M.; Kanamori, H.; Shearer, P. M.; Steidl, J.; Treiman, J.; Wei, S.; Yang, W. (2013), "Report on the August 2012 Brawley earthquake swarm in Imperial Valley, Southern California", Seismological Research Letters (Seismological Society of America) 84 (2): 177–189 
  68. ^ "PAGER - M 6.3 - OFF THE WEST COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA". USGS. 
  69. ^ "M6.8 - 77km WNW of Ferndale, California". USGS. 
  70. ^ "M4.4 - 9km NNW of Westwood, California". USGS. 
  71. ^ "M5.1 - 1km S of La Habra, California". UGSS. 
Sources

External links[edit]