List of earthquakes in California

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Probabilistic seismic hazard map

Earthquakes in California are common occurrences since the state is located on the San Andreas Fault, which cuts across California and forms the tectonic plate 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 faults that run 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 numerous 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 or in Baja California, Mexico. Stover & Coffman 1993 use various seismic scales. MLa is a local magnitude (ML) that is based on the area of perceptibility and Mfa is a body wave magnitude. Both are based on isoseismal maps and are used for events that occurred prior to the instrumental period. The values for events that use these equivalents are included in the ML column.

Date PTZ Area (ML) (Ms) (Mw) MMI Deaths Coordinates Comments
1769-07-28 Santa Ana River 6.0 VIII 33°54′N 117°48′W / 33.9°N 117.8°W / 33.9; -117.8 [8]
1800-11-22 13:30 San Diego 6.5 VII 33°00′N 117°18′W / 33.0°N 117.3°W / 33.0; -117.3 [8]
1808-06-21 San Francisco 6.0 VIII 37°48′N 122°30′W / 37.8°N 122.5°W / 37.8; -122.5 [8]
1812-12-08 07:00 Wrightwood 6.9 VIII 40 34°22′N 117°39′W / 34.37°N 117.65°W / 34.37; -117.65 [9]
1812-12-21 11:00 Santa Barbara 7.1 VIII 1 34°12′N 119°54′W / 34.2°N 119.9°W / 34.2; -119.9 [9]
1836-06-10 07:30 San Francisco Bay Area 6.8 VIII 37°48′N 122°12′W / 37.8°N 122.2°W / 37.8; -122.2 [9]
1838-06 San Francisco Peninsula 7.0 VIII 37°36′N 122°24′W / 37.6°N 122.4°W / 37.6; -122.4 [9]
1855-07-10 20:15 San Gabriel 6.0 VIII 34°06′N 118°06′W / 34.1°N 118.1°W / 34.1; -118.1 [10]
1852-11-29 Baja California 6.5 IX 32°30′N 115°00′W / 32.5°N 115.0°W / 32.5; -115.0 [10]
1857-01-09 08:24 ParkfieldWrightwood 7.9 IX 1 35°42′N 120°18′W / 35.7°N 120.3°W / 35.7; -120.3 [9]
1858-12-15 18:30 San Bernardino 6.0 VIII 34°00′N 117°30′W / 34.0°N 117.5°W / 34.0; -117.5 [11]
1861-07-03 16:11 Contra Costa County 5.6 VIII 37°48′N 122°00′W / 37.8°N 122.0°W / 37.8; -122.0 [11]
1865-10-08 12:46 Santa Cruz Mountains 6.3 VIII 37°12′N 121°54′W / 37.2°N 121.9°W / 37.2; -121.9 [12]
1868-10-21 07:53 Hayward 6.8 VIII 30 37°42′N 122°06′W / 37.7°N 122.1°W / 37.7; -122.1 [12]
1872-03-26 02:30 Owens Valley 7.8 X 27 36°42′N 118°06′W / 36.7°N 118.1°W / 36.7; -118.1 [13]
1873-11-22 21:00 Cape Mendocino 6.7 VIII 42°00′N 124°00′W / 42.0°N 124.0°W / 42.0; -124.0 [14]
1890-02-09 04:06 San Diego County 6.7 VI 33°24′N 116°18′W / 33.4°N 116.3°W / 33.4; -116.3 [15]
1890-04-24 03:36 Corralitos 6.0 VIII 36°54′N 121°36′W / 36.9°N 121.6°W / 36.9; -121.6 [15]
1891-10-11 22:28 Napa 5.5 VIII 38°18′N 122°24′W / 38.3°N 122.4°W / 38.3; -122.4 [15]
1892-02-23 23:20 Imperial Valley 7.8 VIII 32°33′N 115°38′W / 32.55°N 115.63°W / 32.55; -115.63 [15]
1892-04-19 02:50 Vacaville 6.4 IX 1 38°24′N 122°00′W / 38.4°N 122.0°W / 38.4; -122.0 Doublet [16]
1892-04-21 09:43 Winters 6.2 IX 38°30′N 121°54′W / 38.5°N 121.9°W / 38.5; -121.9 Doublet [16]
1893-04-04 11:40 Newhall 5.4 VIII 34°18′N 118°36′W / 34.3°N 118.6°W / 34.3; -118.6 [17]
1897-06-20 12:14 Santa Clara County 6.2 VIII 37°00′N 121°30′W / 37.0°N 121.5°W / 37.0; -121.5 [18]
1898-03-30 21:43 Mare Island 6.2 VIII 38°12′N 122°24′W / 38.2°N 122.4°W / 38.2; -122.4 [19]
1898-04-14 21:07 Greenwood 6.9 VIII 39°12′N 123°48′W / 39.2°N 123.8°W / 39.2; -123.8 [19]
1899-12-25 04:25 San Jacinto 6.7 IX 6 33°48′N 117°00′W / 33.8°N 117.0°W / 33.8; -117.0 [20]
1901-03-02 23:45 Parkfield 6.4 VIII 36°00′N 120°30′W / 36.0°N 120.5°W / 36.0; -120.5 [21]
1902-07-27 22:57 Santa Barbara County 5.4 VII 34°48′N 120°24′W / 34.8°N 120.4°W / 34.8; -120.4 Swarm [22]
1902-07-31 01:20 Santa Barbara County 5.4 VIII 34°42′N 120°18′W / 34.7°N 120.3°W / 34.7; -120.3 Swarm [22]
1902-07-31 19:30 Santa Barbara County VIII 34°36′N 120°24′W / 34.6°N 120.4°W / 34.6; -120.4 Swarm [22]
1902-12-12 Santa Barbara County VII 34°48′N 120°24′W / 34.8°N 120.4°W / 34.8; -120.4 [22]
1906-04-18 05:12 San Francisco 7.7 XI 3,000 37°40′N 122°29′W / 37.67°N 122.48°W / 37.67; -122.48 Tsunami [23]
1906-04-18 16:30 Imperial Valley 6.3 VIII 32°54′N 115°30′W / 32.9°N 115.5°W / 32.9; -115.5 [24]
1909-10-28 22:45 Cape Mendocino 6.4 VIII 40°30′N 124°12′W / 40.5°N 124.2°W / 40.5; -124.2 [25]
1911-07-01 14:00 Santa Clara County 6.6 VIII 37°15′N 121°45′W / 37.25°N 121.75°W / 37.25; -121.75 [25]
1915-01-11 20:31 Santa Barbara County 5.2 VIII 34°36′N 120°12′W / 34.6°N 120.2°W / 34.6; -120.2 [26]
1915-06-22 19:59 Imperial Valley 5.5 VIII 6 32°48′N 115°30′W / 32.8°N 115.50°W / 32.8; -115.50 Doublet [26]
1915-06-22 20:56 Imperial Valley 5.5 VIII 32°48′N 115°30′W / 32.8°N 115.50°W / 32.8; -115.50 Doublet [26]
1915-11-20 16:42 Baja California 6.9 IX 32°00′N 115°00′W / 32.0°N 115.0°W / 32.0; -115.0 [27]
1918-04-21 14:32 San Jacinto 6.7 IX 1 33°45′N 117°00′W / 33.75°N 117.0°W / 33.75; -117.0 [28]
1920-06-21 18:47 Inglewood 4.9 VIII 34°00′N 118°30′W / 34.0°N 118.5°W / 34.0; -118.5 [29]
1922-01-31 05:17 Cape Mendocino 7.3 V 40°42′N 125°33′W / 40.7°N 125.55°W / 40.7; -125.55 [30]
1922-03-10 02:21 Parkfield 6.0 IX 35°45′N 120°15′W / 35.75°N 120.25°W / 35.75; -120.25 [30]
1923-01-22 01:04 Cape Mendocino 7.2 VIII 40°30′N 124°30′W / 40.5°N 124.5°W / 40.5; -124.5 [31]
1925-06-29 06:42 Santa Barbara 6.8 IX 13 34°18′N 119°48′W / 34.30°N 119.80°W / 34.30; -119.80 [32]
1927-01-01 00:16 Imperial Valley 5.8 VIII 32°30′N 115°30′W / 32.5°N 115.5°W / 32.5; -115.5 Doublet [33]
1927-01-01 01:13 Imperial Valley 5.5 VIII 32°30′N 115°30′W / 32.5°N 115.5°W / 32.5; -115.5 Doublet [33]
1927-11-04 06:50 Point Arguello 7.3 VIII 34°42′N 120°48′W / 34.7°N 120.8°W / 34.7; -120.8 Tsunami [34]
1932-06-06 00:44 Cape Mendocino 6.4 VIII 1 40°45′N 124°30′W / 40.75°N 124.50°W / 40.75; -124.50 [35]
1933-03-10 17:54 Long Beach 6.3 IX 100–140 33°36′N 118°00′W / 33.6°N 118.0°W / 33.6; -118.0 [36]
1934-06-07 21:47 Parkfield 6.1 VIII 35°48′N 120°20′W / 35.8°N 120.33°W / 35.8; -120.33 [37]
1934-12-30 05:52 Baja California 6.4 IX 32°15′N 115°30′W / 32.25°N 115.5°W / 32.25; -115.5 Doublet [38]
1934-12-31 10:45 Baja California 7.0 X 32°00′N 114°45′W / 32.0°N 114.75°W / 32.0; -114.75 Doublet [38]
1937-03-25 08:49 Anza, Hemet, and Palm Springs 5.6 VI 33°24′N 116°16′W / 33.4°N 116.26°W / 33.4; -116.26 [39]
1940-05-18 21:36 Imperial Valley 6.9 X 9 32°43′59″N 115°30′00″W / 32.733°N 115.5°W / 32.733; -115.5 [40]
1941-06-30 23:50 Santa Barbara County 5.9 VIII 34°22′N 119°35′W / 34.37°N 119.58°W / 34.37; -119.58 [41]
1941-11-14 00:41 Los Angeles County 5.4 VIII 33°47′N 118°15′W / 33.78°N 118.25°W / 33.78; -118.25 [42]
1942-10-21 09:22 Fish Creek Mountains 6.6 VI 32°58′N 116°00′W / 32.97°N 116.00°W / 32.97; -116.00 [43]
1947-04-10 07:58 Newberry Springs 6.5 VII 34°59′N 116°33′W / 34.98°N 116.55°W / 34.98; -116.55 [44]
1948-12-04 15:43 Desert Hot Springs 6.0 VII 33°56′N 116°23′W / 33.93°N 116.38°W / 33.93; -116.38 [45]
1950-7-29 06:36 Imperial Valley 5.5 VIII 31°07′N 115°34′W / 31.12°N 115.57°W / 31.12; -115.57 [46]
1952-07-21 04:52 Kern County 7.5 XI 12 35°00′N 119°01′W / 35.00°N 119.02°W / 35.00; -119.02 [47]
1952-08-22 14:41 Kern County 5.8 VIII 2 35°20′N 118°55′W / 35.33°N 118.92°W / 35.33; -118.92 [48]
1954-03-19 01:54 Salton Sea area 6.4 VI 33°17′N 116°11′W / 33.28°N 116.18°W / 33.28; -116.18 [49]
1954-04-25 12:33 Santa Cruz County 5.3 VIII 36°56′N 121°41′W / 36.93°N 121.68°W / 36.93; -121.68 [50]
1954-12-21 11:56 Cape Mendocino 6.5 VII 1 40°47′N 124°10′W / 40.78°N 124.17°W / 40.78; -124.17 [51]
1957-03-22 11:44 Daly City 5.3 VII 1 37°40′N 122°29′W / 37.67°N 122.48°W / 37.67; -122.48 [52]
1966-06-27 21:26 Parkfield 6.1 VII 35°58′N 120°30′W / 35.96°N 120.5°W / 35.96; -120.5 [53]
1968-04-08 19:28 Ocotillo Wells 6.5 VII 33°11′N 116°08′W / 33.19°N 116.13°W / 33.19; -116.13 [54]
1969-10-01 20:56 Santa Rosa 5.6 VIII 1 38°28′N 122°41′W / 38.47°N 122.69°W / 38.47; -122.69 Doublet [55]
1969-10-01 22:19 Santa Rosa 5.7 VIII 38°28′N 122°41′W / 38.46°N 122.69°W / 38.46; -122.69 Doublet [55]
1971-02-09 06:01 San Fernando 6.5–6.7 65 34°24′N 118°24′W / 34.4°N 118.4°W / 34.4; -118.4 [56][57]
1978-08-13 15:54 Goleta 5.8 VII 34°24′N 119°42′W / 34.4°N 119.7°W / 34.4; -119.7 [58]
1979-08-06 10:05 Santa Clara County 5.8 VII 37°06′N 122°30′W / 37.1°N 122.5°W / 37.1; -122.5 [59]
1979-10-15 16:16 Imperial Valley 6.5 IX 32°38′N 115°19′W / 32.63°N 115.32°W / 32.63; -115.32 [60]
1980-01-24 11:00 Livermore 5.8 VII 37°52′N 121°49′W / 37.86°N 121.82°W / 37.86; -121.82 [61]
1980-05-25 09:33 Mammoth Lakes 6.2 VII 37°35′N 118°51′W / 37.59°N 118.85°W / 37.59; -118.85 Swarm [62]
1980-05-25 12:44 Mammoth Lakes 5.9 VII 37°33′N 118°50′W / 37.55°N 118.84°W / 37.55; -118.84 Swarm [62]
1980-05-27 07:50 Mammoth Lakes 5.8 VI 37°29′N 118°50′W / 37.49°N 118.83°W / 37.49; -118.83 Swarm [62]
1980-11-08 02:27 Cape Mendocino 7.2 VII 41°07′N 124°15′W / 41.12°N 124.25°W / 41.12; -124.25 [63]
1983-05-02 15:42 Coalinga 6.2 VIII 1 36°14′N 120°19′W / 36.23°N 120.31°W / 36.23; -120.31 [64]
1984-04-24 13:15 Morgan Hill 6.2 VIII 37°19′N 121°42′W / 37.32°N 121.7°W / 37.32; -121.7 [65]
1986-07-08 02:20 North Palm Springs 6.2 VII 34°00′N 116°37′W / 34.0°N 116.61°W / 34.0; -116.61 [66]
1986-07-13 02:20 Oceanside 5.8 VI 1 32°58′N 117°52′W / 32.97°N 117.87°W / 32.97; -117.87 [66]
1986-07-20 07:29 Chalfant Valley 5.4 V 37°35′N 118°27′W / 37.58°N 118.45°W / 37.58; -118.45 [66]
1986-07-21 07:42 Chalfant Valley 6.3 VI 37°32′N 118°27′W / 37.54°N 118.45°W / 37.54; -118.45 [66]
1986-07-21 07:51 Chalfant Valley 5.0 V 37°34′N 118°32′W / 37.57°N 118.53°W / 37.57; -118.53 [66]
1987-10-01 07:42 Whittier Narrows 5.9 VIII 8 34°04′N 118°05′W / 34.06°N 118.08°W / 34.06; -118.08 [67]
1987-11-23 17:54 Elmore Desert Ranch 6.1 VI 33°05′N 115°47′W / 33.08°N 115.78°W / 33.08; -115.78 [68]
1987-11-24 05:15 Superstition Hills 6.5 VII 33°01′N 115°50′W / 33.01°N 115.84°W / 33.01; -115.84 [68]
1989-08-08 01:13 Santa Cruz Mountains 5.4 VII 1 37°08′N 121°57′W / 37.13°N 121.95°W / 37.13; -121.95 [69]
1989-10-17 17:04 Santa Cruz Mountains 7.2 IX 63 37°02′N 121°53′W / 37.04°N 121.88°W / 37.04; -121.88 Tsunami [70]
1990-02-28 15:44 Upland 5.4 VI 34°08′N 117°42′W / 34.14°N 117.7°W / 34.14; -117.7 [71]
1991-06-28 07:43 Sierra Madre 5.7 VII 1 34°16′N 118°00′W / 34.26°N 118.00°W / 34.26; -118.00 [72]
1992-04-22 21:50 Joshua Tree 6.2 VII 33°58′N 116°19′W / 33.96°N 116.32°W / 33.96; -116.32 [73]
1992-04-25 11:06 Cape Mendocino 7.2 VIII 40°22′N 124°19′W / 40.37°N 124.32°W / 40.37; -124.32 Tsunami [74]
1992-04-26 00:41 Cape Mendocino 6.5 VIII 40°25′N 124°36′W / 40.42°N 124.6°W / 40.42; -124.6 [75]
1992-04-26 04:18 Cape Mendocino 6.7 VIII 40°23′N 124°35′W / 40.38°N 124.58°W / 40.38; -124.58 [76]
1992-06-28 04:57 Landers 7.3 IX 3 34°12′N 116°26′W / 34.2°N 116.44°W / 34.2; -116.44 [77]
1992-06-28 08:05 Big Bear 6.5 VIII 34°12′N 116°50′W / 34.20°N 116.83°W / 34.20; -116.83 [78]
1993-05-17 16:20 Eureka Valley 6.1 V 37°10′N 117°47′W / 37.17°N 117.78°W / 37.17; -117.78 [79]
1994-01-17 04:30 Northridge 6.7 IX 60 34°12′N 118°30′W / 34.2°N 118.5°W / 34.2; -118.5 [80]
1994-09-01 08:15 Cape Mendocino 7.1 V 40°24′N 125°41′W / 40.4°N 125.68°W / 40.4; -125.68 Tsunami [81]
1999-10-16 02:46 Hector Mine 7.1 VII 34°35′N 116°16′W / 34.59°N 116.27°W / 34.59; -116.27 [82]
2000-09-03 01:36 Yountville 5.0 VII 38°23′N 122°25′W / 38.38°N 122.41°W / 38.38; -122.41 [83]
2003-12-22 11:15 San Simeon 6.6 VIII 2 35°43′N 121°06′W / 35.71°N 121.10°W / 35.71; -121.10 [84]
2004-09-28 10:15 Parkfield 6.0 VII 35°49′N 120°22′W / 35.82°N 120.37°W / 35.82; -120.37 [85]
2005-06-12 08:41 Anza 5.2 VI 33°32′N 116°34′W / 33.53°N 116.57°W / 33.53; -116.57 [86]
2005-06-14 19:50 Cape Mendocino 7.2 IV 41°13′N 126°00′W / 41.22°N 126.0°W / 41.22; -126.0 Tsunami [87]
2007-10-30 20:04 Alum Rock 5.6 VI 37°26′N 121°46′W / 37.43°N 121.77°W / 37.43; -121.77 [88]
2008-07-29 11:42 Chino Hills 5.5 VI 33°57′N 117°46′W / 33.95°N 117.76°W / 33.95; -117.76 [89]
2009-05-17 20:39 Inglewood 4.7 V 33°56′N 118°20′W / 33.94°N 118.34°W / 33.94; -118.34 [90]
2010-01-09 17:27 Cape Mendocino 6.5 VII 40°39′N 124°41′W / 40.65°N 124.69°W / 40.65; -124.69 [91]
2010-03-16 04:04 Pico Rivera 4.4 V 33°59′N 118°05′W / 33.99°N 118.08°W / 33.99; -118.08 [92]
2010-04-04 15:40 northern Baja California 7.2 VII 2 32°18′N 115°17′W / 32.3°N 115.28°W / 32.3; -115.28 [93]
2010-06-14 21:26 Ocotillo 5.7 VII 32°42′N 115°55′W / 32.70°N 115.92°W / 32.70; -115.92 [94]
2010-07-07 16:53 Borrego Springs 5.5 VI 33°25′N 116°29′W / 33.42°N 116.49°W / 33.42; -116.49 [95]
2012-08-26 12:20 Brawley 4.6 V 33°01′N 115°33′W / 33.02°N 115.55°W / 33.02; -115.55 Swarm [96]
2012-08-26 12:31 Brawley 5.4 V 33°01′N 115°33′W / 33.02°N 115.55°W / 33.02; -115.55 Swarm [97]
2012-08-26 13:57 Brawley 5.5 V 33°01′N 115°33′W / 33.02°N 115.55°W / 33.02; -115.55 Swarm [98]
2012-12-14 03:36 Catalina Island 6.3 V 31°06′N 119°40′W / 31.1°N 119.66°W / 31.1; -119.66 [99]
2013-05-23 20:47 Lake Almanor, Greenville 5.7 VIII 40°11′N 121°04′W / 40.19°N 121.06°W / 40.19; -121.06 Swarm [100]
2014-03-09 22:18 Cape Mendocino 6.8 V 40°49′N 125°08′W / 40.82°N 125.13°W / 40.82; -125.13 [101]
2014-03-17 06:25 Westwood, Los Angeles 4.4 V 34°08′N 118°29′W / 34.14°N 118.49°W / 34.14; -118.49 [102]
2014-03-28 21:09 La Habra 5.1 VII 33°56′N 117°56′W / 33.93°N 117.94°W / 33.93; -117.94 [103][104]
2014-08-24 03:20 North Bay 6.0 VIII 1 38°13′N 122°19′W / 38.22°N 122.31°W / 38.22; -122.31 [105]

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 c Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 72, 99
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  10. ^ a b Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 72, 101
  11. ^ a b Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 72, 102
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  15. ^ a b c d Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 74, 110
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  36. ^ Utsu, T. R. (2002), "A List of Deadly Earthquakes in the World: 1500-2000", International Handbook of Earthquake & Engineering Seismology, Part A, Volume 81A (First ed.), Academic Press, p. 705, ISBN 978-0124406520 
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  38. ^ a b Stover & Coffman 1993, pp. 79, 133, 134
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Sources

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