Which state has the most damaging earthquakes? The most natural (non-manmade) earthquakes?

California has the most damaging earthquakes, and Alaska and California have the most natural (non-manmade) earthquakes.

Find information about earthquakes in each state on our Earthquake Information by Region website (scroll down).

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Where can I search an earthquake catalog for past events?

You may be able to find what you’re looking for using our collection of Earthquake Lists , so check that first. If that doesn’t work, you can use one of these Earthquake Catalog Search webpages: Search the World-wide Earthquakes Catalog (M4.5+ worldwide, M2.5+ U.S.) Search the ANSS (Advanced National Seismic System) Composite Catalog (M4.5+ world-...

Which country has the most earthquakes?

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it may seem. In order to most accurately answer it, we will rephrase the question four different ways: For which country do we locate the most earthquakes? Japan. The whole country is in a very active seismic area, and they have the densest seismic network in the world, so they are able to...

Which state has the most damaging earthquakes? The most natural (non-manmade) earthquakes?

California has the most damaging earthquakes, and Alaska and California have the most natural (non-manmade) earthquakes. Find information about earthquakes in each state on our Earthquake Information by Region website (scroll down).

Where do earthquakes occur?

Earthquakes can strike any location at any time. But history shows they occur in the same general patterns year after year, principally in three large zones of the earth. The world's greatest earthquake belt, the circum-Pacific seismic belt , is found along the rim of the Pacific Ocean, where about 81 percent of the world's largest earthquakes...

Where can I find a list of the largest earthquakes in the United States? In the World?

The USGS Earthquake Lists, Maps, and Statistics website has statistics about earthquakes in the United States and the world, including a list of the world's 20 largest recorded earthquakes.

Where can I find a list of the largest earthquakes near my town?

Use our online earthquake catalog to search for past earthquakes in your region. Define your search area by drawing a rectangle on a map or by inputting data for a rectangle or circle. Go to our Earthquake Information by Region website and scroll down to find information about earthquakes in each state.

Where can I find a list of yearly estimated deaths from earthquakes around the world?

Our Earthquake Statistics website has annual totals for worldwide earthquakes and U.S. earthquakes from 1990 to the near-present. Estimated deaths from those earthquakes are listed at the bottom of the charts. The website also has M3+ earthquake counts by state beginning in 2010.

Which states have the smallest number of earthquakes? Is there any place in the world that doesn't have earthquakes?

Florida and North Dakota are the states with the fewest earthquakes. Antarctica has the least earthquakes of any continent, but small earthquakes can occur anywhere in the World. Our Earthquake Statistics website has M3+ earthquake counts for each state beginning in 2010. Learn more: Earthquake Information by Region (scroll down for information by...
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Date published: November 15, 2016

Assessing Critical Infrastructure Damage After Earthquakes

Early on the morning of August 24, 2014, Loren Turner was awoken by clattering window blinds, a moving bed, and the sound of water splashing out of his backyard pool. He experienced what is now named the “South Napa Earthquake.” 

Date published: August 21, 2015

South Napa Earthquake – One Year Later

One year ago, the largest earthquake in over 25 years hit the San Francisco Bay Area, causing significant damage in California’s famous Napa Valley. The magnitude 6.0 earthquake occurred early in the morning on August 24, 2014, on the West Napa Fault.

Date published: February 24, 2014

The 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami


On March 27th, 1964, the second largest instrumentally recorded earthquake worldwide rocked southern Alaska for 4 to 5 minutes. In addition to the earthquake, the event triggered a major tsunami that caused casualties and damage from the Kodiak Islands to northern California.

Date published: April 8, 2011

California Can Learn From Recent Large Earthquakes

A new report issued by the American Red Cross and the U.S. Geological Survey documents the Chilean response and recovery efforts following the Feb. 2010 magnitude 8.8 earthquake and the lessons that California should learn from this disaster.   

Date published: April 21, 2008

Earthquake Hazard Maps Show How the Nation Shakes with Quakes

Friday's magnitude-5.2 earthquake in southern Illinois is a reminder that earthquakes are a national hazard.

Date published: February 25, 2003

U.S. Suffers Largest Earthquake of 2002

The magnitude 7.9 quake that hit Central Alaska on November 3 was the world’s biggest earthquake in 2002, and the largest to hit the United States since 1996 when another 7.9 hit Alaska’s Andreanof Islands.

Date published: January 22, 2001

New USGS Map Will Improve Earthquake Hazards Assessment in the Bay Area

A new geologic map of surficial deposits in the nine-county San Francisco Bay region that can be used to evaluate earthquake hazards has been released in digital form by the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park.

Date published: December 29, 1997

Long Valley, California Earthquake

A light earthquake, preliminary magnitude 4.1 according to the U.S. Geological Survey, occurred at 3:02 PM EST (12:02 PM local time) Monday, Dec 29, 1997. The epicenter is located 5 miles SE of Mammoth Lakes, or 33 miles WNW of Bishop, CA. 

Date published: February 13, 1997

Alaska and Washington Yield Largest U.S. Earthquakes. . . Most Significant Earthquakes of ’96 Rattle China, Indonesia

China and Indonesia suffered the deadliest and most destructive earthquakes in 1996, while the U.S. remained relatively quiet according to scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior. The last deadly earthquake in the U.S. was the 1994 Northridge, Calif., quake that took 60 lives.

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Damage from South Napa Earthquake
February 13, 2017

Damage from South Napa Earthquake

Damaged unreinforced masonry building on Main Street in downtown Napa, California. Photograph credit: Erol Kalkan, USGS

February 21, 2014

1964 Quake: The Great Alaska Earthquake

"1964 Quake: The Great Alaska Earthquake" is an eleven minute video highlighting the impacts and effects of America's largest recorded earthquake. It is an expanded version of the four minute video "Magnitude 9.2". Both were created as part of USGS activities acknowledging the fifty year anniversary of the quake on March 27, 2014. The video features USGS geologist

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Attribution: Alaska
Image: Denali Fault: Alaska Pipeline
November 10, 2002

Denali Fault: Alaska Pipeline

View south along the Trans Alaska Pipeline in the zone where it was engineered for the Denali fault. The fault trace passes beneath the pipeline between the 2nd and 3rd slider supports at the far end of the zone. A large arc in the pipe can be seen in the pipe on the right, due to shortening of the zigzag-shaped pipeline trace within the fault zone. (It was snowing when

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Image: Northridge, CA Earthquake Damage
January 1, 1994

Northridge, CA Earthquake Damage

Collection of USGS still images taken after the January 17, 1994 Northridge earthquake highlighting the damage to buildings and infrastructure.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Looking down on collapsed, severely damaged viaduct section of highway.
December 31, 1989

Collapsed sections of Cypress viaduct, Highway 880

Aerial view of collapsed sections of the Cypress Street viaduct of Interstate Highway 880 in Oakland, California, damaged as a result of the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989. The epicenter was located near Loma Prieta peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, approximately 14 km (9 mi) northeast of Santa Cruz and 96 km (60 mi) south-southeast of San

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Ground view of collapsed building and burned area, Beach and Divisadero Sts., Marina District.
December 31, 1989

Marina District, San Francisco, after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

Ground view of collapsed building and burned area at Beach and Divisadero Streets, Marina District, San Francisco, following the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. At 5:04:15 p.m. (PDT), the magnitude 6.9 (moment magnitude; surface-wave magnitude, 7.1) earthquake severely shook the San Francisco and Monterey Bay regions. The epicenter was located at 37.04° N.

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Photograph shows the collapse of Fourth Avenue near C Street, Anchorage, Alaska, in 1964.
March 31, 1964

Collapse of Fourth Avenue near C Street, Anchorage, due to earthquake

Collapse of Fourth Avenue near C Street, Anchorage, due to the great alaska earthquake of March 27, 1964 which caused a landslide. Before the earthquake, the sidewalk at left, which is in the graben, was at street level on the right. The graben subsided 11 feet in response to 14 feet of horizontal movement. Anchorage district, Cook Inlet region, Alaska. March 1964.

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Devastation of 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
May 31, 1906

Devastation of 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

This photograph, taken by George Lawrence from a series of kites five weeks after the great earthquake of April 18, 1906, shows the devastation brought on the city of San Francisco by the quake and subsequent fire. The view is looking over Nob Hill toward business district, South of the Slot, and the distant Mission. The Fairmont Hotel, far left. dwarfs the Call Building

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Shake map for a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward fault

Shake map for a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward fault

Shake map for a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward fault with the eipicenter of earthquake near Oakland, Calfornia.

Attribution: Natural Hazards