Throughout history, California has been home for the most hazardous earthquakes with high magnitude because of its location. From time to time, earthquake strikes cause the death of thousands of citizens and the destruction of the buildings. To understand the whole picture, paying a little attention to the history of the earthquake in Los Angeles is important. Some of the earthquakes were small and unnoticeable, yet others were dangerous and destructive. While you are reading the article, most probably, there will be another earthquake in Los Angeles. Hopefully, soon early earthquake early warning applications will be available to us to protect our businesses, employees, and families from harmful results of earthquakes. To understand the nature of the earthquakes and most earthquake-prone places, it is crucial to analyze the history of earthquake strikes in California. The article will describe seven most significant earthquakes which happened in Los Angeles, California from 1769 to the present day.


1769 Earthquake  


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On July 28, 1769, one of the most destructive earthquakes happened in the area of Santa Ana River with the magnitude of 6.0M.  Five days later on 3rd August, the quake was followed by three aftershocks during evening and afternoon. The main reason for the earthquake was shown as San Joaquin Fault.


Wrightwood Earthquake – 1812


On December 8, 1812, another destructive quake happened in an area close to San Juan Capistrano with 6.9M magnitude. As a result of the earthquake mission church was collapsed and ended with the death of the 40 citizens who were attending the mass. There were different assumptions about the origin of the quake. Some claimed that the earthquake was originated from the Mojave segment of San Andreas Fault near the Wrightwood, yet various faults also were declared as the cause of the quake.


Shortly after from Wrightwood earthquake on December 21, 1812, another dangerous earthquake in Los Angeles stroke with the magnitude of 7,0M. It caused damage and destruction in the area. Mission Santa Barbara church was damaged entirely, and there was massive destruction in the Mission Purisima Concepcion. At the same time, in the north of the Santa Barbara Channel tsunami was reported. Earthquakes continued to rock during 1813 as well.


Fort Tejon Earthquake – 1857


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On January 9, 1857, one of the worst earthquakes of all time stroke at Southern California called Fort Tejon quake. With the 7.9M earthquake magnitude, it caused a massive rupture with 350 km length in the San Andreas Fault. Even though the quake was considered as one of the worst shocks of U.S history, it caused only one death and several injuries in the area. If that earthquake happened today, there would be many numbers of loss. The reason that saved the life of citizens was that at that time people were located sparsely.


As a result of the Fort Tejon Earthquake, almost every area in the state was affected negatively. San Andreas fault slid 15 feet to the north. The fault named Elkhorn Thrust which is near San Andreas fault slipped during the 1857 earthquake and scientists warns that movement in that area could lead to other more dangerous earthquakes.


The earthquake was followed with several aftershocks during the next 3.7 years with the magnitude of minimum 6.0M. Two of the greatest aftershocks has had a 6.2M and 6.7M earthquake magnitude which widely noticed.


Santa Barbara Earthquake – 1925




On June 29, 1925, at 6:42 a.m. the southwest of the Santa Barbara was stroke by the strong earthquake in Los Angeles with the earthquake magnitude of 6.8M. The quake was so strong that almost every construct had been damaged severely and additionally quake caused the death of thirteen people and injury of thirty-two people. Only a few building remained undamaged. It was unsurprising that no foreshock had been felt and Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria were suffered a lot from the damages of the earthquake. Approximately five aftershocks were recorded within first 1 or 2 hours directly after from earthquake.


Watsonville, Mojave, and Santa Ana also felt the earthquake but more slightly than other areas. In contrast, Mission San Buenaventura suffered a lot from the quake as trees uprooted, windows were broken, and a lot of damage was recorded on the buildings.   


It was recorded that in Ventura and Oxnard quake started slowly but became strong eventually, and several aftershocks were reported. Another area which felt earthquake firmly was Ojai.


Landers Earthquake – 1992


Another big earthquake in Los Angeles occurred on June 28, 1992, on southern California with the earthquake magnitude of 7.3M. Although the quake had high earthquake magnitude and caused a lot of destruction like road cracks, collapsed buildings it was not considered as one of the worst shocks because of the minimal life loss. 2 people died during the earthquake because of the heart attack and one child died while sleeping because of the fallen brick from the chimney.


Northridge Earthquake – 1994


Northridge Earthquake - 1994

On January 17, 1994, in the San Fernando Valley of the Los Angeles Northridge Earthquake occurred with the earthquake magnitude of 6.7M. The quake continued approximately ten to twenty seconds, and firm ground movement was also felt near the Las Vegas, Nevada. This earthquake in Los Angeles is one of the examples of blind thrust earthquakes. Blind thrust earthquakes occur because of Thrust Fault which is not visible on the surface. Even though they do not show any sign on the earth surface sometimes these kinds of earthquakes could be one the most destructive ones.


Later, the Northridge earthquake followed by two aftershocks with the magnitude of 6.0M. Second, aftershock has occurred approximately 11 hours later and one of the most destructive aftershocks in history. The aftershock ended with the death of the 57 and injury of 8700 citizens. Additionally, the quake is considered one of the costliest earthquakes on Los Angeles of all time because of the $13 – 50 billion damage.


Chino Hills Earthquake


Chino Hills Earthquake

Chino Hills occurred on July 29, 2008, in Southern California with the 5.5M earthquake magnitude and the epicenter of the earthquake was Chino Hills. This earthquake is considered as the biggest quake after the Northridge earthquake. Because of the location of the epicenter earthquake ended with no death and eight injured people, yet cause minor damages to the area. Most of the buildings in the Chino Hills were new and therefore could stand against earthquakes. In contrast to other earthquakes in Los Angeles that mentioned above the Chino Hills earthquake caused minor damages. Only entertainment parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, stopped their work because area faced problems with electricity which restores after several hours.


Approximately 100 aftershocks were felt during the next 2-3 days after the earthquake, and it made scientist worry about the future coming big earthquake strike.


Although it is not possible to stop the earthquake from happening, it is possible to learn about future earthquakes and take precautions to lower its damages. Different systems provide this functionality and one of them soon will be available in California.

The app predicts the upcoming earthquakes in Los Angeles based on the historical earthquake data and warns the user. Additionally, the app provides the user with information such as what actions should be taken before the earthquake, how to protect ourselves from injuries, etc. It is necessary to learn more about how these warning systems exactly work. Soon most of the businesses will switch to the early warning systems to minimize their loss and prepare their employees for the upcoming earthquakes. After you receive the warning alert on your application, you need to keep quiet, calm, and quickly find the right place for you to hold on.

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