California Earthquakes

The state of California is located on the San Andreas Fault , which is why earthquakes are a very common occurrence. The first strong earthquake recorded in California, which consisted of four violent shocks, occurred in the in the Los Angeles area in 1769. Since that time, there have been thousands of small earthquakes recorded each year and about 100 larger earthquakes that registered over a 5.0 magnitude.

The most recent, “large” earthquake in California occurred in Northridge, on January 17, 1994, and displaced more than 20,000 people from their homes. In total, there were 57 deaths and the economic impact was estimated at $20 billion.

Preparing for the Inevitable

Seismic retrofitting is the modification of existing homes, or buildings to improve their resistance to earthquakes. This process is especially important for older structures, built prior to our modern understanding of earthquakes and improved construction techniques. Call Foundation Technology at (661) 294-1313 to learn more about how we can retrofit your home, building or structure to help reduce the economical impact of California’s next major earthquake.

California’s Largest Earthquake

The largest earthquake ever recorded in California history was a Magnitude 7.9 and occurred in Fort Tejon. This earthquake left an amazing surface rupture scar of about 225 miles in length, along the San Andreas fault.

Earthquake Details

  • Date & Time: January 9, 1857, around 8:20 am PST
  • Type of Faulting: Right-lateral strike-slip
  • Magnitude: MW 7.9 (approx.)
  • Length of Surface Rupture: 225 miles
  • Maximum Surface Offset: 30 feet
  • Coordinates: 35° 43′ N, 120° 19′ W

Do You Live in a High Risk Area?

Experts are estimating $50 billion in damages from earthquakes in California over the next 10 years.

This map shows the relative intensity and damage of seismic activity in California from anticipated future earthquakes. Although the areas of highest intensity pose greater hazard, every region within the state is vulnerable to potential earthquake damage.

  • High
  • Moderate
  • Low

The two largest urban areas in California are located in the State’s highest seismic hazard zones.

Since 1971, earthquakes in California have caused over $55 billion in losses. It’s expected that the next large earthquake may lead to even greater losses, especially if it affects a major urban area. When this happens, it will not only disrupt the economy of the entire State, but also much of the nation. An effective disaster plan, which includes seismic retrofitting, by residents, private businesses, and municipalities will dramatically reduce the losses and help towards a speedy recovery.

LA Mayor Calls for Mandatory Retrofitting

This recent safety proposal requires property owners to retrofit certain homes, buildings and concrete structures in Los Angeles so that they would not be as vulnerable to collapsing during the next big earthquake.

Los Angeles has always been an epicenter of seismic risk, “Garcetti said. “But today we are taking bold action to make LA an epicenter of earthquake preparedness, resilience and safety.

Foundation Technology is certified and listed as a preferred bidder in Los Angeles, under the “brace and bolt” program. This offers peace-of-mind, knowing that the seismic retrofitting of your home, building or structure will not only meet, but exceed all city ordinances, codes and standards. Call (661) 294-1313 for more information and answers to your questions.

California Earthquake Resources

30 Day, 2.5+ Magnitude Earthquake Feed

In real-time, this map displays all earthquakes over a 2.5 magnitude, which have been located by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) within the last 30 days.

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Significant Southern California Earthquakes

An interactive map that displays significant earthquakes and faults in Southern California. You can filter the map results by magnitude, and earthquake name

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2014 Map of Seismic Hazards in the United States

This map shows that there are 42 of 50 states that could experience damaging, seismic activity from an earthquake over the next 50 years.

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Chronological Earthquake Index

A chronological list of the most significant earthquakes ever recorded in California. Information provided includes magnitude, location, time and more.

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Alphabetical Index of Faults in California

Is your home, building, or structure located on or around a fault? This alphabetical list provides information on type of fault, length, last surface rupture and more!

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Advanced Earthquake Topic Search

Find answers to any question you may have on earthquakes. Search by topic (geology, hazards), content type (graphics, games), level (elementary, college) and region (California, global)!

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Earthquake Notification Service

The Earthquake Notification Service (ENS) is a free service that sends you automated notification emails when earthquakes happen in your area.

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Earthquake Glossary

Find yourself puzzled about a specific word associated with earthquakes? Well, this earthquake glossary provides an alphabetical list of earthquake terms and their definitions.

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Today in Earthquake History

This fun resource highlights earthquakes that occurred on today’s date throughout history. You can also filter by month and day for earthquake history on any date of the year.

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Earthquake Safety & Preparation Tips

In the event of an earthquake, an appropriate safety plan saves homes, businesses, and most importantly lives. After a large earthquake, residents and businesses may be isolated from police, fire, and emergency support for a period extending from several hours to a few days. It’s critical we are prepared to survive safely, and to aid others, until outside help arrives.

California Earthquake ShakeOut

Join millions of people worldwide on October 15, 2015, at 10:15 am as they practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold. This amazing opportunity helps prepare your family or staff how to survive and recover quickly from the next big earthquake!

Get Ready to ShakeOut

2015 ShakeOut Participation Totals

This chart shows 2015 ShakeOut participation totals by category. Click on a category name to view participants that have agreed to be listed.

View ShakeOut Participation Chart

Register for the 2015 Great California ShakeOut!

Register your organization for the 2015 ShakeOut today! It’s a great chance to set an example for other businesses in your community. It also creates peace-of-mind knowing that you’re family, staff, and co-workers will be better prepared to survive and recover quickly from our next big earthquake!

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Drop, Cover, & Hold On

The general agreement among federal, state, and local emergency management experts is that, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is the most appropriate action to reduce injury and death during an earthquake.

Helpful Downloads

Protecting Your Family From Earthquakes

Protecting Your Family From Earthquakes

7 Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business

Seven Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business

Moving to Earthquake Country – SoCal

Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country - Southern California

Moving to Earthquake Country – SoCal (español)

Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country - Southern California (spanish)

Moving to Earthquake Country – San Francisco

Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country - San Francisco

Survive Earthquakes & Tsunamis – NorCal

How to Survive Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Northern California

Moving to Earthquake Country – Central US

Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country - Central US

Moving to Earthquake Country – Utah

Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country - Utah

ShakeAlert Early Earthquake Warning System

ShakeAlert—An Earthquake Early Warning System for the United States West Coast

Homeowner Earthquake Checklist

Homeowner Earthquake Checklist

Earthquake Science Explained

Earth Quake Science Explained

Earthquake Hazard Reduction in Existing Concrete

Earthquake Hazard Reduction in Existing Concrete