Looking at the Most Recent and Extreme Earthquakes in California


California is one of the world’s most seismically active regions, with regular and often devastating earthquakes. In this post, we will look at some of the most recent and severe earthquakes in California, as well as their effects on people and the environment.

Most Recent Earthquakes in California

According to the Southern California Earthquake Data Center, California has experienced 21 earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or more in the last 24 hours, 131 in the last 7 days, and 744 in the last 30 days. The strongest earthquake in California in the last year was a magnitude 5.6 quake that occurred in Ferndale on December 20, 2022.

Other important recent earthquakes in California include the following:

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck Antelope Valley on July 8, 2021, resulting in little damage and injuries.

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake hit Westmorland on September 30, 2020, triggering hundreds of aftershocks.

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake struck South El Monte on September 18, 2020, and was felt by millions of people in the Los Angeles area.

On June 24, 2020, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck in Lone Pine, resulting in rockslides and road fissures.

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake occurred near Searles Valley on June 3, 2020, one year after the Ridgecrest earthquakes.

The most extreme earthquakes in California

California has also seen some of the most intense and destructive earthquakes in history, including:

The 1906 earthquake in San Francisco had an estimated magnitude of 7.9, killing over 3,000 people and destroying 80% of the city.

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.9, killed 63 people and wounded over 3,700, causing significant damage to buildings, bridges, and roads.

The 1994 Northridge earthquake had a magnitude of 6.7 and killed 57 people while injuring over 8,700 others, causing an estimated $20 billion in property and infrastructure damage.

The 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes, which included a magnitude 6.4 foreshock on July 4 and a magnitude 7.1 mainshock on July 5, were California’s strongest earthquakes in 20 years, resulting in minor injuries and damage to structures, roads, and utilities.


Earthquakes are a natural occurrence that cannot be avoided but can be planned for. California is a high-risk earthquake zone, having witnessed some of the world’s most recent and extreme seismic events. Californians may limit the impact and devastation of future earthquakes by learning about their history and science, as well as adhering to safety requirements and emergency plans.

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