The Primer: Earthquakes, Learning More

While scientists may not yet be able to predict earthquakes, there is a lot they do know on the subject. Check out the following links to learn the fundamentals, brush up on California earthquake history, and discover what scientists know about California

Big quakes happen in the morning, especially during periods of earthquake weather. The SCEC sets the record straight on these and other earthquake myths.

Don’t know your magnitude from your Ricther scale? A visual glossary of earthquake terms. The USGS also offers animated explanations of some key concepts as well as a Q&A.

The first strong earthquake detailed in California history occurred in the Los Angeles area in 1769. Here, see what’s happened since then. 

Alaska may have had the nation’s largest quake, but California’s had the most. Here, the full list of quakes in the United States that were magnitude 7 or greater.

For a compendium of historic quakes in the region, click your way around this map from the SCEC. Along with a description of each quake, you’ll find an animated explanation of the type of fault that caused it.

Last November, California took part in the largest earthquake preparedness drill in U.S. history. Called the Great California ShakeOut, it was based on the notion of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, one that originates at the Salton Sea on the San Andreas Fault and rupturing northward 190 miles. Participating experts (and there were many) estimated that such a quake would kill 1,800 people, injure 50,000, and cause $200 billion in damage. Go here for related podcasts, videos, and other materials.