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Los Angeles Earthquake Risk

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What is the Earthquake Risk in Los Angeles and the Southern California Coast?

Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange County

Many of the mountains, and some of the valleys, in Southern California were formed by movement within the San Andreas fault system—the tectonic boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates.

The San Andreas fault is the primary feature of the system and the longest fault in California, slicing through Los Angeles County along the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains. It can cause powerful earthquakes—as big as magnitude 8.

study by the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that a portion of the San Andreas fault near Tejon Pass could be overdue for a major earthquake. Earthquakes occur about every hundred years on average, along this section of the fault, with the last major earthquake occurring in 1857: the magnitude 7.9 Fort Tejon quake.

There are over a hundred smaller active faults in the region that can cause damaging earthquakes like the Northridge earthquake in 1994, such as the Raymond fault, the Santa Monica fault, the Hollywood fault, the Newport-Inglewood fault, and the San Jacinto and Elisnore faults.

Soils in lowland areas away from major faults may be subject to liquefaction. Houses on liquefied soil may settle or even move laterally on gentle slopes. Landslides are possible on steep hillsides.

Learn about Earthquake Risk in the Southern California Coast including Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange County.

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