In August 24, 2014, The Napa Valley California earthquake hit with a magnitude 6.0. It was felt across the Bay Area; it damaged buildings, caused spark fires, and injured several people. This quake was one of the largest to strike the Northern part of the state since the 1989 Loma Prieta 6.9 M earthquake.
California has, however, seen worse according to records from the U.S Geological Survey:
1) Fort Tejon. January 9, 1857, 7.9 Magnitude
This earthquake caused bigger ground movements. There was 29.5 feet of horizontal displacement along the fault line resulting in tremors that were felt in both Northern Southern California as well as the eastern part of Las Vegas. One death was reported.
- Owens Valley. March 26, 1872, 7.4 Magnitude
This earthquake claimed 27 lives in Lone Pine on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There were dip-slip and strike-slip faulting, which are horizontal and vertical movements of the crust of the earth. This happened on the Owens Valley fault, and it moved the ground horizontally by as much as 23 feet and three feet vertically.
- Imperial Valley. February 24, 1892, Magnitude 7.8
This quake struck near Baja, and there were both strike-slip and dip-slip movements which are believed to have caused the quake along the Laguna Salada fault. Aftershocks were felt for days throughout the month of April. There were no reported deaths in this largely uninhabited area,
- San Francisco. April 18, 1906, Magnitude 7.8
Dubbed the 'Great Quake' of 1906, this earthquake left 80 percent of the city damaged from the tremors and resulting fires. The tremors were felt as far north as Oregon all the way to the southern tip of California. Tremors were also reported throughout the Nevada Inlands. The death count rose to 3,000.
- West of Eureka. January 31, 1922, Magnitude 7.3
This offshore quake was felt in Eugene, Oregon, and San Francisco, CA. The same area was struck with 6.5 M quakes over a period of 18 hours in 1992. Eight years later, another 6.5 M offshore earthquake hit coastal Eureka, CA.
- Kern County. July 21, 1952, Magnitude 7.3
This was the largest temblor to hit the lower part of the U.S since the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906. This quake is believed to have caused $60 million in property damages and took the lives of 12 people. Most of California, western Nevada, and western Arizona felt the shock. There were close to 200 aftershocks of at least 4.0 M felt in September of that year.
- Landers. June 28, 1992, Magnitude 7.3
This early morning shake-up shifted the ground horizontally by up to 18 feet and vertically by about 5.9 feet. Three lives were lost and over 400 were injured. The shaking was felt in all of southern California. This earthquake traveled throughout Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado, and to the neighboring regions of New Mexico.
Earthquakes can happen at any time. It is therefore important to be adequately prepared. Here is what you should do if you are inside a building:
- Remain where you are until the shaking has ceased. Don't run outside, and stay away from doorways. They can come crashing down and injure you.
- Remain on all fours so you are not knocked down by the shakes.
- Place your hands against the back of your neck to avoid being injured by falling debris. If possible, take cover under a sturdy desk, table or another low –height furniture.
- If you can't take cover under sturdy, low furniture, go to an inside corner where you are less likely to be hit by falling objects. Cover your head with your arms or a pillow. The Earthquake Country Alliance advises you to get as close to the floor as possible. Those in a wheelchair or other devices should also get into a corner and remain still until the shaking stops.
- Stay away from windows and overhead light fixtures such as chandeliers.
- If you are in bed, get under your bed if possible and cover your head and neck using a pillow.
- If you happen to be outside,
- Go to the nearest open space then drop, put your arms over your head, and hold on.
- If you have to, get into a building to avoid falling debris.
- If you are in a moving vehicle,
- Stop and stay in the vehicle unless there is open ground nearby. Do not stop near or beneath buildings, such as basement parking lots, or close to overpasses, trees, and utility lines.