Significant California Earthquakes

We've defined "significant" to mean magnitude greater than or equal to 6.5, or that caused loss of life or more than $200,000* in damage (*damage estimates have not been adjusted for inflation.) This list includes significant earthquakes having epicenters outside of California but within approximately 100 miles.


Name, Location, or
Region Affected
Loss of Life and Property
1700, Jan. 269.0???Offshore, somewhere between Cape Mendocino and CanadaData not available, but shook northern California, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia; caused tsunami damage to villages in Japan and western US
1800, Nov. 226.3?32.90-117.80San Diego/San Juan Capistrano regionDamaged adobe walls of missions in San Diego and San Juan Capistrano
1812, Dec. 87.3?34.37-117.65Wrightwood40 dead at San Juan Capistrano
1812, Dec. 217.1?34.75-118.60Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara1 dead
1836, June 106.4?36.90-121.50Near San Juan Bautista[Older reports reported this quake as possibly larger and centered near Oakland]
1838, June7.4?37.30?-122.15San Francisco to San Juan BautistaDamage to San Francisco and Santa Clara
1852, Nov. 296.5?32.50-115Near Fort Yuma, Arizona  
1857, Jan. 97.936.20-120.80Great Fort Tejon earthquake1 dead; damage from Monterey to San Bernardino County
1860, Mar. 156.5?39.50-119.50Carson City
1865, Oct. 86.537.20-121.90Santa Cruz Mountains$0.5 million in property damage
1868, Oct. 217.037.70-122.10Hayward Fault30 dead; $350,000 in property damage
1872, Mar. 267.436.70-118.10Owens Valley27 dead; 56 injured; $250,000 in property damage
1872, Mar. 266.836.90-118.20Owens ValleyAftershock of previous entry
1872, Apr. 116.837.50-118.50Owens ValleyAftershock of March 26, 1872 quake
1873, Nov. 236.942.00-124.20Crescent City regionDamage in California-Oregon border area
1890, Feb. 96.833.40-116.30San Jacinto fault?Little damage
1892, Feb. 247.332.55-115.65Laguna Salida, Baja CaliforniaDamage to San Diego and Imperial Valley
1892, Apr. 196.638.40-122.00Vacaville1 dead; $225,000 in property damage
1898, Mar. 316.438.20-122.50Mare Island$350,000 in property damage
1898, Apr. 156.7?39.20-123.80Fort Bragg - MendocinoDamage from Fort Bragg to Mendocino; 3 houses collapsed; landslides reported
1899, Apr. 167.041.00-125.80Offshore, about 80 miles west of Eureka 
1899, July 226.434.30-117.50WrightwoodChimneys knocked down; landslides reported
1899, Dec. 256.733.80-117.00San Jacinto and Hemet6 dead; $50,000 in property damage
1906, Apr. 187.837.70-122.50Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire3,000 dead; $524 million in property damage (includes damage from fire)
1908, Nov. 46.036.00-117.00SW of Death Valley 
1911, July 16.437.25-121.75Morgan Hill area 
1915, Nov. 216.632.00-115.00In Mexico, about 60 miles S of El Centro 
1918, Apr. 216.833.75-117.00San Jacinto1 dead; several injuries; $200,000 in property damage
1918, July 156.541.00-125.00Offshore, about 40 W of Eureka 
1922, Jan. 317.341.00-125.50Offshore, about 70 mi W of Eureka 
1922, Mar. 106.336.10-120.60Parkfield 
1923, Jan. 227.240.40-124.90Off Cape MendocinoDestructive in Humboldt County; strongly felt in Reno
1925, Jun. 296.834.30-119.80Santa Barbara13 dead; $8 million in property damage
1927, Nov. 47.134.60-120.9040 km west of LompocDamage in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties
1932, Dec. 217.238.75-118.00Cedar Mountain, near Gabbs, NV 
1933, Mar. 116.433.70-118.00Long Beach115 dead; $40 million in property damage
1934, July 66.541.25-125.75Offshore, about 100 mi WNW of Eureka 
1934, Dec. 306.532.25-115.50In Mexico, about 40 miles S of El Centro 
1934, Dec 317.032.00-114.75In Mexico, about 100 miles SE of El Centro 
1940, May 197.032.73-115.50Imperial Valley9 dead; $6 million in property damage
1941, Feb. 96.640.70-125.40Offshore, about 65 miles W of Eureka 
1942, Oct. 216.432.97-116.00About 25 miles W of Westmoreland 
1947, Apr. 106.534.98-116.55East of Yermo 
1948, Dec. 46.033.93-116.38East of Yermo 
1952, July 217.335.00-119.02Kern County earthquake12 dead; $60 million in property damage
1954, July 66.839.42-118.53Rainbow Mountain, near Fallon, NV 
1954, Aug. 246.839.58-118.45Rainbow Mountain, near Fallon, NV 
1954, Dec. 167.339.28-118.12Fairview Peak, near Fallon, NV 
1954, Dec. 167.139.80-118.10Dixie Valley, near Fallon, NV 
1954, Dec. 216.640.93-123.78East of Arcata1 dead; several injured; $2.1 million in property damage
1956, Feb. 96.531.75-115.92In Mexico, about 80 miles SW of El Centro 
1968, Apr. 86.633.19-116.13Borrego Mountain 
1971, Feb. 96.634.41-118.40San Fernando65 dead; more than 2,000 injured; $505 million in losses
1976, Nov. 266.841.29-125.71Offshore, about 100 mi WNW of Eureka 
1979, Oct. 156.532.61-115.32Imperial Valley9 injured; $30 million in property damage
1980, May 256.237.60-118.85Mammoth Lakes 
1980, May 256.037.63-118.93Mammoth Lakes 
1980, Nov. 87.441.12-124.67West of Eureka6 injured; $2 million in property damage
1983, May 26.436.23-120.31Coalinga 
1984, Apr. 246.237.31-121.68Morgan Hill$8 million in property damage
1986, July 216.437.54-118.44Chalfant Valley 
1987, Oct. 16.034.07-118.08Whittier Narrows8 dead; $358 million in property damage to 10,500 homes and businesses
1987, Nov. 246.233.09-115.79Superstition Hills$3 million in property damage
1987, Nov. 246.633.01-115.85Superstition Hillspart of above damage
1989, Oct. 176.937.04-121.88Loma Prieta63 dead; 3,737 injured; $6 billion in property damage
1991, July 126.642.02-125.72Offshore west of  Crescent City 
1991, Aug 177.041.71-125.63Offshore, about 100 miles NW of EurekaPreceded by two quakes (M 6.3 and 6.2) on Aug. 16 and 17
1992, Apr. 257.240.33-124.23Petrolia356 injured; $48.3 million in property damage
1992, Apr. 266.640.43-124.60PetroliaAftershock of the Apr. 25 quake
1992, Apr. 266.640.38-124.59PetroliaAnother aftershock of Apr. 25 quake
1992, June 287.334.20-116.44Landers1 dead; 402 injured; $91.1 million in property damage
1992, June 286.534.17-116.83Big BearIncluded with Landers losses, above
1994, Jan. 176.734.21-118.54Northridge57 dead; more than 9,000 injured; about $40 billion in property damage
1994, Sep. 17.040.40-125.68Offshore, about 70 miles W of Cape Mendocino 
1995, Feb. 196.340.60-126.03Offshore, about 70 miles W of Cape Mendocino 
1999, Oct. 167.134.60-116.27Bullion Mountains (Hector Mine)

Minimal injuries and damage due to sparse population in affected area

2003, Dec 226.535.71-121.10San 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 (;

Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (; 

Loss information from C. Stover and J. Coffman, 1993, Seismicity of the United States (USGS Professional Paper 1527). 

See also Cascadia earthquake information at:,,, and