Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Earthquake Areas
Name: Bal
Status: Other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
Found your site to be very interesting. Since most of California is prone to earthquakes, your statement that San Diego is relatively safe for earhquakes is very interesting because we are thinking of moving to San Diego. Are there any areas San Diego that are less or more prone to earthquakes. For our work it is kind of important that the place be rather free of earthquakes.



Replies:
The San Andreas Fault runs from San Francisco southeast to the Imperial Valley, where it fragments into a number of small faults. San Diego is not very close to the San Andreas Fault, and any earthquakes originating in the Imperial Valley will not transmit their energy to the San Diego area very effectively, as the ground is already so fractured.

That said, the San Diego area is still more prone to earthquakes than other areas in the US away from the West Coast. In fact, the original adobe buildings of the first Spanish settlement in California, the Mission San Diego Del Alcala in what is now San Diego, were destroyed by an earthquake only a few years after they were constructed. So even though San Diego is not as earthquake-prone as Los Angeles or San Francisco, it's not as stable as Albany, either.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois


I recommend you visit the website of the National Earthquake Information Center:

http://wwwneic.cr.usgs.gov/

There are numerous links about earthquakes past and present everywhere in the world, including California. There are also seismic activity maps.

Then you can make your own decision about the risk of earthquakes in the San Diego area. I'm no seismologist, but I wouldn't build any high towers in the area!

Vince Calder



Click here to return to the Environmental and Earth Science Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory