Earthquake news, science
and resources

Quake and tsunami information for California and the Pacific, plus links to tips and help.
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LA Times website currently leading with no-news quake

nyt-grab-9814.jpg If you want breaking news in the LA area at night, you might be better off not going to the LA Times website. They prefer quakebot copy to real news.

Napa quake first in CA where we actually know who woke up

jawbone-napa-quake-grafic.jpg Turns out that almost everybody in the Napa and Vallejo areas got up when the quake hit at 3:20 a.m. and half of those stayed up the rest of the night. Based on data, not anecdote.

Bay Area hit by M6 quake, strongest since Loma Prieta

napa-quake-barrels.jpg The quake centered near Napa and Vallejo woke up the entire Bay Area and a swath of Northern California at 3:20 this morning. At least 70 people have gone to hospitals with an assortment of injuries, and there is damage reported to highway bridges, gas and water pipes, and some buildings.

Light quake under Sepulveda Pass area bumped up to 4.2

shake-map-6-1-2014.jpg An earthquake of the variety that seismologists classify as "light" rumbled under the basin at 7:36, prompting a routine cautionary response from the LAFD and the usual suspects in LA media to do their over-excited thing on Twitter.

Hollywood fault may lie under some well-known properties

la-hollywood-fault-flyover.jpg The LA Times has taken the state's January maps of the earthquake faults that pass under Hollywood and added an interesting visual.
chile-quake-intensitymap.jpg Tsunami warnings were called for the upper west coast of South America, with warnings as far north as Mexico. But the tsunami threat has passed.

Journalists' guide to reporting on earthquakes in SoCal

sylmar-quake-bridge-usgs.jpg Definitions and frequently asked questions from USGS at your fingertips, plus some other advice.

5.1 earthquake rocks Southern California *

quake-shake-map-32914.jpg The magnitude 5.1 earthquake at 9:09 p.m. was centered near the border of Los Angeles and Orange counties, 21 miles southeast of the downtown Los Angeles Civic Center. There was a 3.6 foreshock and two aftershocks in the same ballpark.

LA Times' quirky quake story generator strikes again

lat-quakelet-grab.jpg There was a 2.7 micro-quake under Long Beach on Monday. The Times auto-story generator breathlessly reported the quake was centered "347 miles from Phoenix." That's helpful, thanks.

That was a 4.4 quake under the Santa Monicas*

shakemap-31714.jpg The earthquake that woke up a lot of Los Angeles at 6:25 a.m. was located near Encino and measured 4.4. Now with video of the KTLA Morning News folks performing the Shocknek Maneuver.

Big offshore quake rocks north coast of California

ferndale-quake-map.jpg The earthquake at 10:18 on Sunday evening had a preliminary magnitude of 6.9. Luckily, its epicenter was 50 miles west of Eureka beneath the Pacific Ocean, in the subduction zone between tectonic plates that regularly produces sizable quakes.

County nearly finished updating dams for earthquakes

big-tujunga-dam-after-station.jpg Since the deadly Sylmar earthquake in 1971 it has been recognized that the flood control dams in the San Gabriels were not built sufficiently strong to hold up if a severe regional quake hit while the dams retained a full load of water.

Patch gets a key piece of earthquake info wrong

usc-not-ucb-patch.jpg Patch sites have been citing USC as source of documents actually from UC Berkeley. The bigger question, though, is why does LA City Hall not already have all of this data and more on its own buildings?
Northridge-Quake-zocalo-apt.jpg I guess that at 4:31 on Friday morning, Channel 4's tweets will begin. They did this before during the anniversary of the LA riots.

Northridge quake anniversary kicks in with the media

daily-news-newsroom-jan1794.jpg The Daily News package includes a dramatic shot of what the newsroom in Woodland Hills looked like when staffers tried to get in. The paper's executive editor recalls the day.

Fukushima radiation no hazard to West Coast fish or beaches

free-zuma-winter-bird.jpg Coming up on three years since the catastrophic Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, officials say flatly there is no threat to food or beachgoers. No matter what you might see on Facebook.

Map: Earthquake damage in Greater Los Angeles

quake-damage-greater-la-usg.jpg We're swinging into a week full of earthquake conversation and recollection in LA media. January 17 will be the 20th anniversary of the Northridge earthquake.

New state maps put Hollywood buildings on faults

hollywood-fault-map.jpg The California state geologist released revised earthquake fault maps today as required by state law — with possible big consequences for development in Hollywood and in the city of West Hollywood.

7.1 quake off the east coast of Japan *

japan-quake-screenshot.jpg A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 (since lowered to 7.1) struck about two hours ago off the east coast of Honshu. There is no Pacific-wide tsunami activity expected.

Tsunami scenario comes with major warnings for SoCal

long_beach-inundation.jpg The good news about the latest new tsunami study, says Lucy Jones of USGS, is that three quarters of the California coastline is cliffs. The not so good news is that the remaining, low-lying coast is home to a lot of people and some of the most valuable land in the state.

LA Times automated quake news leads to non-stories like this

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 11.21.37 PM.jpg The Times newsroom just isn't the savviest place when it comes to using technology. For instance, a robot shovels headlines about trivial earthquakes onto the front web page without any reporter or editor deciding it is news. Often, it isn't.

Magnitude 7.0 quake has been going on for five months

christchurch-earthquake.jpg The strongest earthquake to hit New Zealand's capital of Wellington in 150 years is raising seismic alarms, “but none of the locals are diving under desks or sheltering in doorways,” the New Zealand Herald says.

They're having a quake swarm in the desert *

quake-map-31113.jpg.png An earthquake measured at 4.7 rocked the area around Anza-Borrego State Park this morning, accompanied by a whole bunch of lesser magnitude quakes in the vicinity of Anza and Ocotillo Wells.

Statewide mega-quake on the San Andreas now thought possible

san-andreas-carrizo-plain.jpg A new study offers evidence that the massive fault that defines the geography of California could snap along its entire length, unleashing a whomper of an earthquake that would hit north and south. Up to now, seismologists have assumed that a portion of the San Andreas in Central California where the Pacific and the North American plates creep past each other fairly smoothly would protect us.
fema.jpg Sandy-related storm damage will cost the U.S. government a pretty penny, but the real trouble could come early next year if a federal deficit-reduction plan cannot be reached.
Journalists' guide to reporting on earthquakes
Definitions and frequently asked questions from USGS at your fingertips, plus other helpful tips. What you should know
In case you missed it
Not soon forgotten
The San Andreas Fault
The San Andreas isn't the source of all of our problems. But the fault gives California its distinctive shape and presents our biggest seismic threat.
USGS page
San Andreas Fault.org
Field Guide to the San Andreas
Biggest California earthquakes
Since 1925
1952 07 21 - Kern County - 7.3 (12 deaths)
1992 06 28 - Landers - 7.3 (3)
2005 06 15 - Offshore Northern California - 7.2
1980 11 08 - Humboldt County - 7.2
1992 04 25 - Cape Mendocino - 7.2
1999 10 16 - Hector Mine - 7.1
1940 05 19 - Imperial Valley - 7.1 (9)
1991 08 17 - Honeydew - 7.0
1994 09 01 - Cape Mendocino - 7.0
1989 10 18 - Loma Prieta - 6.9 (63)
1987 11 24 - Superstition Hills - 6.7
1994 01 17 - Northridge - 6.7 (60)
2003 12 22 - San Simeon - 6.6 (2)
2005 06 17 - Offshore Northern California - 6.6
1971 02 09 - San Fernando - 6.6 (65)
2010 01 10 - Offshore Northern California - 6.5
1954 12 21 - Eureka - 6.5 (1)
1987 11 24 - Superstition Hills - 6.5 (2)
1992 06 28 - Big Bear - 6.5
1932 06 06 - Eureka - 6.4 (1)
1933 03 11 - Long Beach - 6.4 (115)
1925 or earlier
1857 01 09 - Fort Tejon - 7.9 (1 death)
1892 02 24 - Imperial Valley - 7.8
1906 04 18 - San Francisco - 7.8 (3,000)
1872 03 26 - Owens Valley - 7.4 (27)
1873 11 23 - California-Oregon Coast - 7.3
1922 01 31 - Eureka - 7.3
1923 01 22 - Humbolt County - 7.2
1812 12 21 - West of Ventura - 7.1 (1)
1927 11 04 - Lompoc - 7.1
1899 04 16 - Eureka - 7.0
1812 12 08 - SW of San Bernardino County - 6.9 (40)
1838 06 - San Francisco area - 6.8
1868 10 21 - Hayward - 6.8 (30)
1898 04 15 - Mendocino County - 6.8
1918 04 21 - San Jacinto - 6.8 (1)
1925 06 29 - Santa Barbara - 6.8 (13)
1899 12 25 - San Jacinto - 6.7 (6)
1865 10 08 - Santa Cruz Mountains - 6.5
1911 07 01 - Calaveras fault - 6.5
1836 06 10 - South San Francisco Bay - 6.5
1892 04 19 - Vacaville - 6.4 (1)
1892 04 21 - Winters - 6.4
1901 03 03 - Parkfield - 6.4