Sunny with a 40% chance of earthquakes

The United States Geologic Service has launched a website which shows the probability of an earth-shaking event in any spot for California over the next 24 hours. The model is most useful in predicting aftershocks — small tremblers that follow a large quake. Those large quakes remain almost impossible to predict. But knowing if an aftershock is due will help Californians prepare their homes and keep damage to a minimum.

Earthquakes occur when two pieces of the Earth's crust collide, divide, or scrape past one another. The dividng line between two such pieces is called a fault line. Many fault lines run through California, so they have lots of earthquakes. Minnesota has no fault lines, so earthquakes here are very rare.

Read more about earthquake forecasting

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Becca's picture
Becca says:

when will the aftershock happen in california?\r\nwhy?\r\n

posted on Fri, 08/05/2005 - 2:20pm
AZUSENA's picture


posted on Mon, 08/08/2005 - 1:10pm
bryan kennedy's picture

I don't think that Becca was referring to any one specific earthquake in California. The prediction website does not currently show any major threats.

However, this sort of prediction is in its infancy and nobody expects it to be 100% correct. It is highly likely this will miss some future major earthquakes and possibly predict some dangers that never manifest themselves.
bryan kennedy
Science Buzz Site Admin

posted on Wed, 08/10/2005 - 3:06pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

"Many fault lines run through California, so they have lots of earthquakes. Minnesota has no fault lines, so earthquakes here are very rare."

Check your facts.

In the 141 years since 1860, Minnesota has recorded 18 earthquakes, more than half of them during the last 35 years. Most of Minnesota's earthquakes occur along a line that runs from the southwest to the northeast through Ortonville, Morris, Alexandria, Staples and Nisswa. This area is part of the Great Lakes Tectonic Zone, which, along with the Yellow Medicine Shear Zone, was formed more than 2 billion years ago. They are called zones instead of faults because the exact location is hard to pin down, but runs in about a 30-mile wide band situated on the basis of earthquakes that have occurred in the past."

posted on Sat, 10/29/2005 - 10:24pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Thanks for the link. However, I'm not sure what facts need checking. The original post said Minnesota has no fault lines; the quote from the linked page says Minnesota has zones rather than faults. The original post says earthquakes here are rare; the quote from the linked page says we've had 18 quakes in 141 years -- a little better than one every 8 years.

posted on Sun, 10/30/2005 - 9:56pm
bryan kennedy's picture

It is important to remember that the middle of our continent is not totally safe from earthquakes. The New Madrid seismic zone could hit up to 10 central states with serious quakes. The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch has an interesting front-page article today talking about how little this region has prepared for the potential disaster. Look at this map of the region showing large (greater than 7 on the Richter Scale) earthquakes in the recent past.

Learn more at the Mid-America Earthquake Center at the University of Illinois.

posted on Sun, 11/20/2005 - 2:45pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

I was in Morris for an earthquake that took place there in 1993. It was a 4.1 magnitude quake. I was also in Morris in 1975 for a magnitude 4.8 quake, but I was three at the time, so all I really remember is that it cracked the floor of our garage, which to a 3-year-old is a pretty big deal.

posted on Tue, 08/01/2006 - 5:20pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

how many earthquakes has mn had i an doing a report on mn wether

posted on Mon, 01/30/2006 - 4:25pm
bryan kennedy's picture

You should check out the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) website on Minnesota earthquake history. They have quite a few facts about our solid (sometimes shakin') state. The Last earthquake we had in Minnesota was back in 1994 and only registered a 3.1 on the Richter scale...pretty small.

posted on Tue, 01/31/2006 - 12:01pm
joe shmoe's picture
joe shmoe says:

i like your page

posted on Fri, 02/03/2006 - 10:58am
Mac's picture
Mac says:

Do we feel all earthquakes or do those that happen really far below the earth go unfelt by us? How big does an earthquake need to be before it is "noticable" by people on the surface?

posted on Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:24pm
Ryo Bakura's picture
Ryo Bakura says:

I wondered how many earthquakes has been in Minnesota because it seems like it never have any earthquakes. But, I did find out that there was at least one earthquake in the 1960 or something like that, but with no exact date as to when it happened. So I wanted to know more about it.

posted on Tue, 04/10/2007 - 8:51am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Researchers in Japan have developed a device that can detect earthquakes before they hit. The warning is only about 20 seconds, but that can be enough to get somewhere safe.

posted on Thu, 06/28/2007 - 1:36pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Sun, 01/27/2008 - 1:23pm
Hurricane Store's picture


I think this is not so much referencing a single event but rather giving information for future and current events.

If you check it today you'll find it very different than it was when you made the comment.

Very good resource !

posted on Tue, 06/09/2009 - 1:31pm
lorrie's picture
lorrie says:

I hope they'll be able to predict earthquakes not just in California, the whole world is at risk of earthquake. Being able to predict them will definitely minimize the material loss and the human loss. Even the home insurance would have different quotes for this specific risk.

posted on Wed, 11/03/2010 - 7:43am

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