Skip to main content

Why Southern California Is Ripe For A Large Earthquake

California's San Andreas Fault seen in this undated photo by USGS.

Credit: USGS

Above: California's San Andreas Fault seen in this undated photo by USGS.

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

A recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey shows California has gone more than 100 years without a significant land-rupturing earthquake. It has been nine years since a major earthquake of magnitude 6.0 or stronger was felt in the San Diego region.

Aired: April 17, 2019 | Download | Transcript

Easter Sunday marks nine years since the last major earthquake shook the San Diego region. The magnitude 7.2 Baja California earthquake caused significant damage in Mexicali in 2010.

Nearly five years have passed since an earthquake of magnitude 6 or stronger occurred in California. Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey recently published a study detailing how the state is in the midst of an earthquake drought, defined as a span of 100 years with no major, ground-rupturing earthquakes. Scientists say it’s possible the pattern could change in the years ahead with a period of more frequent, destructive earthquakes.

RELATED: UC San Diego Earthquake Simulator Getting Upgrade

Dr. Thomas Rockwell, a San Diego State University geology professor and paleoseismologist, discussed the study findings and the history of earthquakes in the San Diego region.

Video: San Diego Earthquake Professor Talks Earthquake Drought

A recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey shows California has gone more than 100 years without a significant land-rupturing earthquake. It has been nine years since a major earthquake of magnitude 6.0 or stronger was felt in the San Diego region.

You can hear this story and other local news every morning by subscribing to San Diego News Matters, KPBS’ daily news podcast. Subscribe via iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcatcher.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.