Living in California offers many benefits, from the gorgeous weather to the sandy beaches and sunshine, there’s not much to complain about. Whether you grew up in California or you’ve been living there for a few years, you likely already know how common earthquakes can be. Each year, the southern California area experiences around 10,000 earthquakes, but most of them are so small that they are not even felt. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the biggest earthquakes in California’s recorded history, according to magnitude estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey.

If you live in California and you’re concerned that your commercial building, industrial space, or multi-unit housing development won’t hold up during the next earthquake, contact the experts at Consulting Engineers Corp. today. As the recognized leaders of design and earthquake retrofitting, we’re experts in seismic and soft body retrofits. If you’re interested in learning more about our services or you have questions regarding our past projects, call us today!

The Great Quake

On April 14, 1906, San Francisco experienced what was known as the “Great Quake.” The earthquake occurred at 5:13 in the morning, with its epicenter offshore of San Francisco, which had a population of 400,000 people at the time. The greatest devastation resulted from the fires that quickly followed the quake, with initial tremors destroying the city’s water mains, leaving firefighters with no means to combat the growing flames.

The fire burned for several days and consumer much of the city. With more than 3,000 people perished, and more than 28,000 buildings destroyed, many residents of the city immediately became homeless. The final damages of the city were estimated at around $500 million. This devastating earthquake left more than 80% of the city damaged, and ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time.

Despite the utter devastation of the city, San Francisco was able to quickly recover. The city planners were able to create new and improved city designs, which in turn created a more logical and elegant structure. The initial destruction of the urban center of San Francisco also encouraged population growth in new towns around the bay area.

The Fort Tejon Earthquake

On January 9, 1857 at 8:20 in the morning, one of the largest earthquakes known to man hit California. This earthquake was known as the Fort Tejon earthquake, which occurred near the San Andreas Fault. Leaving an amazing surface rupture scar of more than 350 kilometers in length, only two people were reported to be killed by this devastating natural disaster. The rupture of this quake shook the San Andreas Fault north of Los Angeles, and set off tremors that were felt throughout northern and southern California and inland up to Las Vegas. Leaving the city and residents completely discombobulated, it took years to recover from this natural disaster.

The Owens Valley Earthquake

The Owens Valley earthquake is another significant earthquake that occurred in the town of Lone Pine, California. This 7.4 magnitude earthquake destroyed a seventy mile fault line and killed 27 people, while 56 others suffered from injuries. The Owens Valley earthquake caused serious damage to masonry building, with the most severe damage occurring in Lone Pine and Independence.

As you can see, California is prone to some very serious earthquakes. If you live in California and you’re concerned that your home or business may not be able to withstand the devastating effects of an earthquake, don’t wait until it’s too late to have your home professionally retrofitted. At Consulting Engineers Corp, we can help improve the structure of your property so you can feel safe the next time an earthquake occurs in California. Contact our experts today to learn more.