Why Do Earthquakes Happen in California

San Francisco, California

Why do earthquakes happen in California? To answer this question you must first know what an earthquake actually is. Along the Earth’s crust, which is the hard outer layer of the planet’s surface, there are numerous fractures known as faults. Earthquakes can be defined as releases of energy anywhere in the Earth’s crust. Earthquakes are caused by tectonic plate’s movements. Some of these movements can cause destructive earthquakes and they can be unpredictable, but they do not happen very often. Some of them are just minor earthquakes and this type is common in California. Now that you know how this natural disaster practically works, this article will help you find out why earthquakes happen in California.

California Earthquakes

• Apparently, the San Andreas Fault’s movements are responsible for many earthquakes in the state of California. North American and the Pacific plates are moving. The latter is moving northwest with a constant rate of about 2 inches a year. These are considered responsible for California’s major and minor earthquakes.

• There is no doubt that a fear of natural disasters of great magnitude floats in the air especially after the recent events in Haiti and New Zealand. The question “is there going to be a big one?” has certainly crossed everyone’s mind.

• The fact is that there are literally thousands of earthquakes happening in California each year. Most of them cannot even be felt, yet some of them might be very dangerous. Scientists have proven that earthquakes can happen virtually anywhere in this region. This can happen because of the San Andreas Fault’s “bend”. At this specific area the Pacific and North American plates collide and create hundreds of new faults.

• Examples of major Californian earthquakes include the 1857 Fort Tejon, the 1892 Laguna Salada, the 1927 Offshore Lompoc, the 1952 Kern County, the 1992 Landers and the 1999 Hector Mine with respective magnitudes of 7.9, 7.3, 7.1, 7.5, 7.3 and 7.1. These are all valid proofs of the constant activity mentioned above.

• All in all, one may say that earthquakes occur daily in the Golden State. Most of them are too weak to be felt, but some of the earthquakes were so strong that they will be remembered forever. This fact is definitely something everyone should consider before moving to California. Nevertheless, even these natural disasters cannot ruin something that Mother Nature herself gave to the state of California – beautiful horizon, every-day sun, sandy beaches…California is a beautiful state, indeed. We can only hope that there will be no destructive earthquakes in this state.

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