Table of Contents Why should I care? What should I do? What should I know?

Putting down roots in earthquake country (a service of SCEC)



These regions are near major, active faults and will on average experience stronger earthquake shaking more frequently. This intense shaking can damage even strong, modern buildings.
These regions are distant from known, active faults and will experience lower levels of shaking less frequently. In most earthquakes, only weaker masonry buildings would be damaged. However, very infrequent earthquakes could still cause strong shaking here.

Earthquake shaking potential in Southern California

We could worry about every one of the more than 300 faults described on the previous page. But we do not need to. As described in Earthquake Shaking, the ground shaking in an earthquake depends on the magnitude, the distance from the fault, and local soil conditions. So earthquakes on distant faults may not be a threat to you.

However, since there are faults throughout the region, in the long run most areas of Southern California will experience heavy earthquake shaking. Some locations will experience such shaking more frequently because they are closer to more faults or have local soil conditions that amplify earthquake shaking (see Earthquake Shaking for more information).

Unfortunately, scientists do not yet have the information needed to predict which earthquakes will happen first, so we must be ready for the shaking in our area from any possible earthquake. To help, scientists have combined the probable shaking from all our known faults to create the large map above. It shows the relative intensity of ground shaking in California from all anticipated future earthquakes. Areas in red and pink are nearer major, active faults and on average experience stronger earthquake shaking more frequently. Although the greatest hazard is in these areas, no region within the state is immune from the potential for earthquake damage.

download PDF order free copy


en español