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Significant California Earthquakes

(M > 6.5 or that caused loss of life or more than $200,000* in damage)

*Damage estimates have not been adjusted for inflation.

Note: This list includes earthquakes larger than M 6.5 having epicenters located within about 100 miles of California.

Date

Magnitude Epicenter Name, Location, or
Region Affected
Loss of Life and Property
Latitude Longitude
1700, Jan. 26 9.0? ? ? Offshore, somewhere between Cape Mendocino and Canada Data not available, but shook northern California, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia; caused tsunami damage to villages in Japan and western US
1800, Nov. 22 6.3? 32.90 -117.80 San Diego/San Juan Capistrano region Damaged adobe walls of missions in San Diego and San Juan Capistrano
1812, Dec. 8 7.3? 34.37 -117.65 Wrightwood 40 dead at San Juan Capistrano
1812, Dec. 21 7.1? 34.75 -118.60 Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara 1 dead
1836, June 10 6.4? 36.90 -121.50 Near San Juan Bautista [Older reports reported this quake as possibly larger and centered near Oakland]
1838, June 7.4? 37.30? -122.15 San Francisco to San Juan Bautista Damage to San Francisco and Santa Clara
1852, Nov. 29 6.5? 32.50 -115 Near Fort Yuma, Arizona   
1857, Jan. 9 7.9 36.20 -120.80 Great Fort Tejon earthquake 1 dead; damage from Monterey to San Bernardino County
1860, Mar. 15 6.5? 39.50 -119.50 Carson City
1865, Oct. 8 6.5 37.20 -121.90 Santa Cruz Mountains $0.5 million in property damage
1868, Oct. 21 7.0 37.70 -122.10 Hayward Fault 30 dead; $350,000 in property damage
1872, Mar. 26 7.4 36.70 -118.10 Owens Valley 27 dead; 56 injured; $250,000 in property damage
1872, Mar. 26 6.8 36.90 -118.20 Owens Valley Aftershock of previous entry
1872, Apr. 11 6.8 37.50 -118.50 Owens Valley Aftershock of March 26, 1872 quake
1873, Nov. 23 6.9 42.00 -124.20 Crescent City region Damage in California-Oregon border area
1890, Feb. 9 6.8 33.40 -116.30 San Jacinto fault? Little damage
1892, Feb. 24 7.3 32.55 -115.65 Laguna Salida, Baja California Damage to San Diego and Imperial Valley
1892, Apr. 19 6.6 38.40 -122.00 Vacaville 1 dead; $225,000 in property damage
1898, Mar. 31 6.4 38.20 -122.50 Mare Island $350,000 in property damage
1898, Apr. 15 6.7? 39.20 -123.80 Fort Bragg - Mendocino Damage from Fort Bragg to Mendocino; 3 houses collapsed; landslides reported
1899, Apr. 16 7.0 41.00 -125.80 Offshore, about 80 miles west of Eureka  
1899, July 22 6.4 34.30 -117.50 Wrightwood Chimneys knocked down; landslides reported
1899, Dec. 25 6.7 33.80 -117.00 San Jacinto and Hemet 6 dead; $50,000 in property damage
1906, Apr. 18 7.8 37.70 -122.50 Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire 3,000 dead; $524 million in property damage (includes damage from fire)
1908, Nov. 4 6.0 36.00 -117.00 SW of Death Valley  
1911, July 1 6.4 37.25 -121.75 Morgan Hill area  
1915, Nov. 21 6.6 32.00 -115.00 In Mexico, about 60 miles S of El Centro  
1918, Apr. 21 6.8 33.75 -117.00 San Jacinto 1 dead; several injuries; $200,000 in property damage
1918, July 15 6.5 41.00 -125.00 Offshore, about 40 W of Eureka  
1922, Jan. 31 7.3 41.00 -125.50 Offshore, about 70 mi W of Eureka  
1922, Mar. 10 6.3 36.10 -120.60 Parkfield  
1923, Jan. 22 7.2 40.40 -124.90 Off Cape Mendocino Destructive in Humboldt County; strongly felt in Reno
1925, Jun. 29 6.8 34.30 -119.80 Santa Barbara 13 dead; $8 million in property damage
1927, Nov. 4 7.1 34.60 -120.90 40 km west of Lompoc Damage in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties
1932, Dec. 21 7.2 38.75 -118.00 Cedar Mountain, near Gabbs, NV  
1933, Mar. 11 6.4 33.70 -118.00 Long Beach 115 dead; $40 million in property damage
1934, July 6 6.5 41.25 -125.75 Offshore, about 100 mi WNW of Eureka  
1934, Dec. 30 6.5 32.25 -115.50 In Mexico, about 40 miles S of El Centro  
1934, Dec 31 7.0 32.00 -114.75 In Mexico, about 100 miles SE of El Centro  
1940, May 19 7.0 32.73 -115.50 Imperial Valley 9 dead; $6 million in property damage
1941, Feb. 9 6.6 40.70 -125.40 Offshore, about 65 miles W of Eureka  
1942, Oct. 21 6.4 32.97 -116.00 About 25 miles W of Westmoreland  
1947, Apr. 10 6.5 34.98 -116.55 East of Yermo  
1948, Dec. 4 6.0 33.93 -116.38 East of Yermo  
1952, July 21 7.3 35.00 -119.02 Kern County earthquake 12 dead; $60 million in property damage
1954, July 6 6.8 39.42 -118.53 Rainbow Mountain, near Fallon, NV  
1954, Aug. 24 6.8 39.58 -118.45 Rainbow Mountain, near Fallon, NV  
1954, Dec. 16 7.3 39.28 -118.12 Fairview Peak, near Fallon, NV  
1954, Dec. 16 7.1 39.80 -118.10 Dixie Valley, near Fallon, NV  
1954, Dec. 21 6.6 40.93 -123.78 East of Arcata 1 dead; several injured; $2.1 million in property damage
1956, Feb. 9 6.5 31.75 -115.92 In Mexico, about 80 miles SW of El Centro  
1968, Apr. 8 6.6 33.19 -116.13 Borrego Mountain  
1971, Feb. 9 6.6 34.41 -118.40 San Fernando 65 dead; more than 2,000 injured; $505 million in losses
1976, Nov. 26 6.8 41.29 -125.71 Offshore, about 100 mi WNW of Eureka  
1979, Oct. 15 6.5 32.61 -115.32 Imperial Valley 9 injured; $30 million in property damage
1980, May 25 6.2 37.60 -118.85 Mammoth Lakes  
1980, May 25 6.0 37.63 -118.93 Mammoth Lakes  
1980, Nov. 8 7.4 41.12 -124.67 West of Eureka 6 injured; $2 million in property damage
1983, May 2 6.4 36.23 -120.31 Coalinga  
1984, Apr. 24 6.2 37.31 -121.68 Morgan Hill $8 million in property damage
1986, July 21 6.4 37.54 -118.44 Chalfant Valley  
1987, Oct. 1 6.0 34.07 -118.08 Whittier Narrows 8 dead; $358 million in property damage to 10,500 homes and businesses
1987, Nov. 24 6.2 33.09 -115.79 Superstition Hills $3 million in property damage
1987, Nov. 24 6.6 33.01 -115.85 Superstition Hills part of above damage
1989, Oct. 17 6.9 37.04 -121.88 Loma Prieta 63 dead; 3,737 injured; $6 billion in property damage
1991, July 12 6.6 42.02 -125.72 Offshore west of  Crescent City  
1991, Aug 17 7.0 41.71 -125.63 Offshore, about 100 miles NW of Eureka Preceded by two quakes (M 6.3 and 6.2) on Aug. 16 and 17
1992, Apr. 25 7.2 40.33 -124.23 Petrolia 356 injured; $48.3 million in property damage
1992, Apr. 26 6.6 40.43 -124.60 Petrolia Aftershock of the Apr. 25 quake
1992, Apr. 26 6.6 40.38 -124.59 Petrolia Another aftershock of Apr. 25 quake
1992, June 28 7.3 34.20 -116.44 Landers 1 dead; 402 injured; $91.1 million in property damage
1992, June 28 6.5 34.17 -116.83 Big Bear Included with Landers losses, above
1994, Jan. 17 6.7 34.21 -118.54 Northridge 57 dead; more than 9,000 injured; about $40 billion in property damage
1994, Sep. 1 7.0 40.40 -125.68 Offshore, about 70 miles W of Cape Mendocino  
1995, Feb. 19 6.3 40.60 -126.03 Offshore, about 70 miles W of Cape Mendocino  
1999, Oct. 16 7.1 34.60 -116.27 Bullion Mountains (Hector Mine)

Minimal injuries and damage due to sparse population in affected area

2003, Dec 22 6.5 35.71 -121.10 San Simeon

Compiled from:
T. Toppozada and others, 2000, Epicenters of and areas damaged by M > 5 California earthquakes, 1800-1999 (CDMG Map Sheet 49);
Updated (3/2004) with data from: Toppozada, T. R. and D. Branum (2002) California M >= 5.5 earthquakes, history and areas damaged, in Lee, W. H., Kanamori, H. and Jennings, P., International Handbook of Earthquake and Engineering Seismology, International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior;
National Earthquake Information Center (http://neic.usgs.gov/);
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (http://www.seismo.unr.edu/ftp/pub/updates/louie/graphics/brochure.html); and loss information from C. Stover and J. Coffman, 1993, Seismicity of the United States (USGS Professional Paper 1527). See also Cascadia earthquake information at:
 http://www.pep.bc.ca/cascadia_1700/cascadia_1700.html, http://www.seismo-watch.com/EQSERVICES/Newsletter/EQNEWS9701.html, http://www.oregonlive.com/news/00/01/st012610.html, and http://www.mala.bc.ca/~earles/1700quake/.