California has been geographically active long before humans began recording earthquake events. The earliest earthquake in California listed by the United States Geological Survey was 1769 in the Los Angeles basin. The most famous of the California earthquakes is the 1906 quake which marked the dawn of modern scientific study of the San Andreas fault system in California. Before 1906, earthquake research in the U.S. had advanced slowly compared to efforts in Japan and Europe. The first seismographs in the U.S. were installed in 1887, at the Lick Observatory (Mount Hamilton, California) and at the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1906, a vigorous earthquake research program has developed in the U.S. Today, seismographs measure the shaking intensity at over 1000 sites in California.
For information on California earthquakes, go to the website from the California Geological Survey.
For educational tools on earthquakes, go to the Institute for Crustal Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.
For more information on earthquakes throughout the United States, see United States Geological Survey Earthquake.
For information on what to do before, during and after an earthquake, go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP).
United States Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program, 06/2005