California has a relatively high number of earthquakes due to its position on both the Pacific and North American Plates. These plates are in constant motion, and earthquakes occur when their sides slip against one another suddenly.Continue Reading
The San Andreas Fault is the boundary line between the two plates, and it runs roughly from north to south along much of the length of the state. There are hundreds of other smaller faults in the state, with about 200 of them considered potentially dangerous due to their slip rates. An estimated 70 percent of the state's population lives within 30 miles of a fault, where noticeable levels of ground shaking can occur.
California generally experiences two or three, large-scale, earthquakes per year of a magnitude of 5.5 or greater, the level at which moderate damage to structures can occur. Small earthquakes occur on an almost daily basis throughout the state, but most are too small to be felt. The state experienced over 2,900 earthquakes in total in 2014.
Though California is one of the regions of the world most prone to earthquakes, it does not have the most or the largest quakes. Within the United States, Alaska has both more and larger earthquakes.Learn more about Earthquakes
Those interested in finding out the most recent earthquakes in California can find out at sites such as the United States Geological Survey (earthquake.usgs.gov) and the California Institute of Technology's Earthquake Data Center (scedc.caltech.edu). The United States Geological Survey broadcasts California earthquakes within a few minutes of their occurrence.Full Answer >
California experiences approximately 10,000 earthquakes every year, which works out to approximately 27 earthquakes a day. However, most of these are so small that people cannot feel them.Full Answer >
View real-time updates about California earthquakes at the California Real Time Earthquake Update site or at the Live Quakes Map section of the Global Incident Map. Both sites get their updates from the U.S. government.Full Answer >
The circum-Pacific seismic belt, often referred to as the Ring of Fire, experiences more earthquakes than anywhere else on Earth. The belt stretches from the southern tip of the Americas north to Alaska, across the Bearing Strait, down through Japan and into New Zealand.Full Answer >