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We Provide Earthquake Insurance for Californians

Earthquakes in California & California's Earthquake History

​​Earthquakes happen all the time

  • California is home to two-thirds of our nation's earthquake risk.
  • In the next 30 years, according to the most recent Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF), there is a greater than 99% chance that a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake capable of causing extensive damage and loss of life will occur in California.
  • California has thousands of known faults crisscrossing the state, and more than 500 are considered active. But some of the world's most devastating earthquakes, such as the Northridge quake, have occurred on previously unknown faults.
  • As the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 proved, sometimes the most extensive earthquake damage can occur many miles from the fault and epicenter. The USGS reports that the most severe property damage occurred in Oakland and San Francisco—more than 60 miles from the epicenter in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

California's Earthquake History

The earliest recorded quake occurred in 1769 in the Los Angeles region during a land expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá. According to the diaries of the members of the expedition, the strong quake occurred on July 28, followed by several smaller quakes. Scientists believe this was a major earthquake, similar in size to the de​vastating 1933 Long Beach quake.

Source: LA Times

August 24, 2014

South Napa

Magnitude: 6.0
Fault Type: Strike-Slip
Faults Involved: West Napa Fault
The largest earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area in 25 years left 1 dead and 200 injured with economic costs to Napa County as high as $1 billion. The shaking caused some damage to wood-frame houses and significant damage to some commercial buildings in downtown Napa.
April 4, 2010

El Mayor-Cucapah (Baja California)

Magnitude: 7.2
Fault Type: Oblique-Slip
Faults Involved: Laguna Salada Fault

 

Two people were killed in the Mexicali area with 50 injuries reported. The quake cost $91 million in direct losses including 96 homes damaged or destroyed. It was the largest earthquake to have occurred in the area since 1892.
December 22, 2003

San Simeon

Magnitude: 6.5
Fault Type: Blind Thrust
Faults Involved: Oceanic Fault

 

The San Simeon earthquake killed 2 people, injured 40 people and caused $25 to $300 million in damages. At least 40 buildings collapsed or were damaged.
October 16, 1999

Hector Mine

Magnitude: 7.1
Fault Type: Strike-Slip
Faults Involved:

 

Almost no damage was reported in the immediate area of the earthquake due to the remote location of the epicenter in the Mojave Desert, with no settlements for 14 miles in all directions
January 17, 1994

Northridge

Magnitude: 6.7
Fault Type: Blind Thrust
Faults Involved: Northridge Thrust

 

 
The earthquake was the cause of widespread damage, including collapse of sections of freeways, parking structures, and office buildings; irreparable damage to apartment buildings and extensive damage to single-family homes. Sixty people were killed, more than 7,000 injured, 20,000 homeless and more than 40,000 buildings damaged in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties.
April 25, 1992

Cape Mendocino

Magnitude: 7.2
Fault Type: Thrust
Faults Involved: Cascadia Subduction Zone

 

Three strong earthquakes occurred near Cape Mendocino on April 25th and 26th, injuring 356 and causing $48.3 million in property damage. The first and strongest quake was felt as far south as San Francisco, as well as in Oregon and Nevada. The aftershocks were also felt at far distances, including many parts of Northern California and parts of Oregon.
June 28, 1992

Landers and Big Bear

Magnitude: 7.5
Fault Type: Right-Lateral Strike-Slip
Faults Involved: Landers Fault

 

Three people lost there lives and 400 were injured. The shaking was felt throughout southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, as far north as Idaho, east to New Mexico and Colorado.
October 17, 1989

Loma Prieta

Magnitude: 6.9
Fault Type: Oblique-Slip
Faults Involved: San Andreas Fault

 

Known as the World Series Quake because it happend just as Game 3 was set to begin. The quake caused 63 deaths, 3,737 injuries, and $6 billion in property damage. The earthquake was responsible for severe damage as far as 70 miles away. It was the largest earthquake to occur on the San Andreas Fault since the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
November 8, 1980

Eureaka

Magnitude: 7.4
Fault Type: Strike-Slip
Faults Involved: Mendocino Fault

 

Occurring off the coast of Humboldt County, six people were injured with damages estimated in the $2 million range, including collapsed highway overpasses, broken chimneys, broken utility lines, and houses displaced from their foundations. The earthquake was felt in parts of California, Oregon and Nevada.
October 15, 1979

Imperial Valley

Magnitude: 6.5
Faulty Type: Strike-Slip
Faults Involved: Imperial Fault

 

The earthquake occurred about 18 miles southeast of El Centro. It injured 91 people and caused an estimated $30 million in property damage in the Imperial Valley area, including destroying two houses and 11 commercial buildings. More than 1,500 houses and more than 400 commercial buildings were damaged
February 9, 1971

San Fernando

Magnitude: 6.6
Faulty Type: Oblique-Thrust
Faults Involved: San Fernando Fault Zone

 

Also known as the Sylmar Earthquake, it left 65 dead, more than 2,000 injured, and $505 million in losses. Most of the deaths occurred when the Veteran's Administration Hospital collapsed. Several other hospitals, including the Olive View Community Hospital in Sylmar suffered severe damage.
July 21, 1953

Kern County

Magnitude: 7.3
Fault Type:  Oblique-Slip
Faults Involved: White Wolf Fault

 

The largest temblor in the lower 48 United States since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, this quake caused property damage estimated at $60 million and claimed 12 lives, injuring 18. The shock was felt over most of California, in western Arizona, and in western Nevada. This quake and its aftershocks (at least 20 were of magnitude 5.0 or greater) were responsible for damaging hundreds of buildings in the Kern County area, at least 100 of which had to be torn down.
May 18, 1940

Imerial Valley / El Centro

Magnitude: 6.9
Fault Type: Strike-Slip
Faults Involved: Imperial Fault

 

The quake struck about 5 miles north of Calexico, along the Mexico border. It was the strongest earthquake ever recorded to strike in the Imperial Valley. It caused at least 8 deaths, seriously injured at least 20 people, and caused roughly $6 million in direct damage (not including lost crops). It damaged railroad bridges in California and Mexico, swayed tall buildings in Los Angeles, and collapsed buildings closer to the quake in Brawley and El Centro.
March 11, 1933

Long Beach

Magnitude: 6.4
Fault Type: Strike-Slip
Faults Involved: Newport-Inglewood Fault

 

120 people lost their lives with 500 injuries reported in Long Beach alone. Roughly $40 million in property damage was a result including damage to 120 schools in and around the Long Beach area resulting in the destruction of 70.
June 29, 1925

Santa Barbara

Magnitude: 6.8

Fault Type: possibly Left-Lateral Reverse
Faults Involved: Ventura Fault

 

Thirteen people died and several injuries were reported. The quake caused property damage in the area estimated at $8 million. Because portions of Santa Barbara were built on landfill, many structures were demolished. Additionally, this earthquake caused landslides in bluffs adjacent to the ocean, as well as damage to railroad tracks.
April 18, 1906

San Fransisco

Magnitude: 7.9
Fault Type: Strike-Slip
Faults Involved: San Andreas Fault

 

Striking early in the morning, the "Great Quake" of 1906 left more than 80 percent of the city damaged from the quake itself and from fires. With the quake's epicenter near San Francisco, tremors from the shaking were felt from southern Oregon to southern California and inland to central Nevada. It caused more than 3,000 deaths, approximately 225,000 injuries and $400,000,000 in property damage (in 1906 dollars).
March 26, 1872

Owens Valley

Magnitude: 7.4
Fault Type: Strike-Slip
Faults Involved: Owens Valley Fault

 

Twenty-seven people in the small community of Lone Pine died and nearly all houses there were destroyed. At the time of the earthquake, the town had about 80 buildings built of mud and adobe of which only 20 remained standing after the quake. Property loss was estimated at $250,000. The earthquake was felt as far south as San Diego, as far north as Red Bluff, and as far east as Elko, Nevada.

 

October 21, 1868

Hayward Earthquake

Magnitude: 7.8
Fault Type:  Strike-Slip
Faults Involved: Hayward Fault

 

The quake destroyed downtown Hayward, killing 5 people and injuring 30. The area of greatest shaking covered about 1,000 square miles and caused damage throughout the Bay Area.
December 9, 1857

Fort Tejon

Magnitude: 7.9
Fault Type: Strike-Slip
Faults Involved: San Andreas Fault

 

Often compared to the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the Fort Tejon quake actually caused larger average ground movements than the more famous 1906 quake. The rupture, which shook the San Andreas fault north of Los Angeles, set off tremors felt throughout northern and southern California and inland as far east as Las Vegas. One person died when an adobe house collapsed.