California Earthquake Facts and Statistics (2020) | By the Numbers



California Earthquake Facts and Statistics

With all the earth-rumbling activity on the west coast lately, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at California earthquake facts and statistics. Below is what I was able to dig up. The results were very interesting (and scary)…

California Earthquake Facts and Statistics

Photo by Andrew Buchanan on Unsplash

Please note that some of this info is easier to find than others. Many of these stats are based on news reports and not necessarily official tallies. Basically, this is the best I can find and I don’t guarantee anything to be 100% accurate.

California Earthquake Facts and Statistics

Earliest reported California earthquake:

1769 (30 miles Southeast of Los Angeles)


Largest California earthquake of all time:

1906 San Francisco and 1857 Fort Tejon earthquakes (7.9)


Deadliest California earthquake in history:

1906 San Francisco earthquake (3,000 deaths)


Costliest California earthquake in history (not adjusted for inflation):

1994 Northridge earthquake ($15 billion)


Number of 3.0 or greater earthquakes in California:

  • 2015: 130
  • 2014: 191
  • 2013: 240
  • 2012: 243
  • 2011: 195
  • 2010: 546

Average number of earthquakes in southern California earth year:

about 10,000 earthquakes each year (only 15-20 are greater than 4.0)


Number of known faults in California:

15,700 known faults


Number of active faults in California:

about 500 active faults


The San Andreas Fault runs almost the entire length of California.


California accounts for 60% of all earthquake insurance premiums written in the US.




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