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 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, in an adjacent U.S. state, or in Baja California, Mexico. Stated fatalities are not limited to California.

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 Portola Expedition [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 1812 Wrightwood [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 1812 Santa Barbara [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 1838 San Francisco [9]
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 1857 Fort Tejon [9]
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 1865 San Francisco [11]
1868-10-21 07:53 Hayward 6.8 VIII 30 37°42′N 122°06′W / 37.70°N 122.10°W / 37.70; -122.10 1868 Hayward [11]
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 1872 Lone Pine [12]
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 [13]
1890-02-09 04:06 Northeast San Diego County 6.7 VI 33°24′N 116°18′W / 33.4°N 116.3°W / 33.4; -116.3 [14]
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 1892 Laguna Salada [14]
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 earthquake [15]
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 earthquake [15]
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 [16]
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 [16]
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 1899 San Jacinto [17]
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 1901 Parkfield [18]
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 1906 San Francisco [19]
1911-07-01 14:00 Coyote 6.6 VIII 37°15′N 121°45′W / 37.25°N 121.75°W / 37.25; -121.75 1911 Calaveras [20]
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 earthquake [21]
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 earthquake [21]
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 1918 San Jacinto [22]
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 [23]
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 1922 Parkfield [23]
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 [24]
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 1925 Santa Barbara [25]
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 1927 Lompoc [26]
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 1932 Eureka [27]
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 1933 Long Beach [28]
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 1934 Parkfield [29]
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 [30]
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 1940 El Centro [31]
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 1942 Fish Creek Mountains [32]
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 1947 Manix [33]
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 1948 Desert Hot Springs [34]
1952-07-21 04:52 Kern County 7.3 XI 12 35°00′N 119°01′W / 35.00°N 119.02°W / 35.00; -119.02 1952 Kern County [35]
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 1954 Arroyo Salada [36]
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 1954 Eureka [37]
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 1957 Daly City [38]
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 1966 Parkfield [39]
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 1968 Borrego Mountain [40]
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 1969 Santa Rosa [41]
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 1969 Santa Rosa [41]
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 1971 San Fernando [42][43]
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 1978 Santa Barbara [44]
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 1979 Imperial Valley [45]
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 1980 Livermore [46]
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 Mammoth Lakes Swarm [47]
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 Mammoth Lakes Swarm [47]
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 Mammoth Lakes Swarm [47]
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 1980 Humboldt County [48]
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 1983 Coalinga [49]
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 1984 Morgan Hill [50]
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 1986 North Palm Springs [51]
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 1986 Oceanside [51]
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 1986 Chalfant Valley [51]
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 1986 Chalfant Valley [51]
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 1986 Chalfant Valley [51]
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 1987 Whittier Narrows [52]
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 1987 Elmore Ranch [53]
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 1987 Superstition Hills [53]
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 1989 Lake Elsman [54]
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 1989 Loma Prieta [55]
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 1990 Upland [56]
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 1991 Sierra Madre [57]
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 1992 Joshua Tree [58]
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 1992 Cape Mendocino [59]
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 1992 Cape Mendocino [60]
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 1992 Cape Mendocino [61]
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 1992 Landers [62]
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 1992 Big Bear [63]
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 1993 Eureka Valley [64]
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 1994 Northridge [65]
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 1994 Cape Mendocino [66]
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 1999 Hector Mine [67]
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 2000 Yountville [68]
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 2003 San Simeon [69]
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 2004 Parkfield [70]
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 2005 Anza [71]
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 26 cm (10 in) wave at Crescent City [72]
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 2007 Alum Rock [73]
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 2008 Chino Hills [74]
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 2009 Inglewood [75]
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 2010 Eureka [76]
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 2010 Pico Rivera [77]
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 2010 El Mayor-Cucapah [78]
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 2010 El Mayor-Cucapah aftershock [79]
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 2010 Borrego Springs [80]
2012-08-26 12:20 Brawley 4.6 V 2012 Brawley swarm [81]
2012-08-26 12:31 Brawley 5.4 V 2012 Brawley swarm [82]
2012-08-26 13:57 Brawley 5.5 V 2012 Brawley swarm [83]
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 2012 Avalon [84]
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) [85]
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 [86]
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 [87]
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 Possible Puente Hills Fault partial rupture [88][89]
2014-08-24 03:20 6km NW of American Canyon, California 6.0 VIII 1 38°13′N 122°19′W / 38.22°N 122.31°W / 38.22; -122.31 2014 South Napa [90]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Earthquake Facts". data from USGS. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  3. ^ Mendocino Triple Junction Offshore Northern California
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  5. ^ The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake USGS
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  88. ^ USGS. "M5.1 - 1km S of La Habra, California". United States Geological Survey. 
  89. ^ Larsen, Kate; Wulff, James (March 30, 2014). "Location of La Habra Quake a Cause for Concern, Seismologists Say". KNBC. 
  90. ^ USGS. "M6.0 - 6km NW of American Canyon, California". United States Geological Survey. 
Sources

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