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Significant Earthquakes Impacting
Los Angeles County

Earthquake Damage in Long Beach From the 1933 Earthquake

Earthquake damage in Long Beach from the 1933 Earthquake. Contributed by the Griffin Family, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

NOTE: In the event of an earthquake, the safest place to be is not in a doorway, but under a table.

Due to the two inch slippage of the San Andreas fault every year, Los Angeles City Hall is now more than 15 feet closer to San Francisco than when it was built in 1926. Scientists project that it should be located in the suburbs of San Francisco in approximately 15 million years.

Also see: Probability of an Earthquake in the Los Angeles Region

and Will Los Angeles Eventually Fall Into the Ocean?

Year Date Location Time Richter Mercalli Deaths & Property Damage
1769 Jul 28 Los Angeles Area --- 6.0 VIII No information
1812 Dec 8 Los Angeles Area 3:00pm 7.0 VII 40 deaths, Mission San Juan Capistrano severely to moderately damaged. Mission San Gabriel moderately damaged.
1827 Sep 24 Los Angeles Area 4:00am 5.5 VI No information
1855 Jul 11 Los Angeles Area 4:15am 6.0 VIII Bells of Mission San Gabriel torn down. 26 buildings damaged in L.A.
1857 Jan 9 Fort Tejon 4:24pm 7.9 IX 2 deaths; Severe property damage and loss
1916 Oct 21 Tejon Pass Region 2:44pm 6.0 VII No information
1933 Mar 10 Long Beach 5:54pm 6.4 VIII 120 deaths; $40 million
1920 Jun 21 Inglewood 2:47am 4.9 VIII No deaths; $100,000+
1941 Oct 21 Torrance-Gardena 10:57pm 4.8 VII No deaths; $100,000
1941 Nov 14 Torrance-Gardena 12:42am 5.4 VIII No deaths; $1.1 million
1951 Dec 26 San Clemente Island 12:46am 5.9 VI No deaths; No appreciable damage
1971 Feb 9 San Fernando 6:01am 6.6 XI 65 deaths; $505 million
Year Date Location Time Richter Mercalli Deaths & Property Damage
1979 Jan 1 Malibu 3:15pm 5.1 VI No deaths; minor damage
1987 Oct 1 Whittier-Narrows 7:42am 5.9 VIII 8 deaths; $358 million
1988 Dec 3 Pasadena 11:38pm 4.2 VI No deaths; No appreciable damage
1989 Jan 19 Malibu 10:38pm 5.2 VI No deaths; slight damage
1989 Jun 12 Montebello 9:57am 4.3 VI No deaths; No appreciable damage
1990 Feb 8 Upland 4:43pm 5.7 VII No deaths; $12.7 million
1991 Jun 28 Sierra Madre 7:44am 5.8 VII 2 deaths; $40 million
1994 Jan 17 Northridge 4:31am 6.7 IX 61 deaths Est. $20 billion
2001 Sep 9 SE of West Hollywood 4:59pm 4.2 --- No deaths; moderate damage
2008 Jul 29 Chino Hills 4:04am 5.5 VI No deaths; moderate damage
2010 Mar 16 Pico Rivera 4:04am 4.4 --- No deaths; moderate damage
2014 Mar 17 Encino 6:25am 4.4 --- No deaths; moderate damage
2014 Mar 28 La Habra 9:09pm 5.1 VI No deaths; $10.8 million

Also see the Southern California Earthquake Center.

In 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey offered a 19 percent probability of a magnitude 6.7-plus earthquake along the San Andreas Fault within the next 30 years. A magnitude 7.5 earthquake, such as has not occured in the Los Angeles area since 1857, would displace land along the San Andreas Fault's length by an average of 9 feet over minutes, inflicting extremely serious widespread damage, according to U.S. Geological Survey research geologist Kate Scharer in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in March 2017.

The July 29, 2008, Chino Hills earthquake, measured at a magnitude 5.4, was centered in Riverside County. It was, however, widely felt throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles County.

About 30 earthquakes occur every day in Southern California. Most have a magnitude of less than 2.0.

No evidence exists that earthquakes are more likely to occur in certain kinds of weather.

The best place to see any part of the monstrous, 800-mile San Andreas Fault is in Palmdale in a road cut along the Antelope Valley Freeway (Route 14) just north of Avenue S. The last time this part of the fault was active was in 1857.