Skip to main content

Southern California Earthquake Center News

The Hebgen Lake earthquake, magnitude 7.1-7.3, struck southwestern Montana in August 1959, causing significant damage. Photo courtesy of USGS.

Strange Earthquakes

August 31, 2015

It’s not a huge mystery why Los Angeles experiences earthquakes. The city is right along a boundary between two tectonic plates — they shift, we shake. But what about places that aren’t along tectonic plate…

A tsunami caused by the San Andreas? Nope. Image from <em>San Andreas</em> courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Experts: Quake Movie a Bit Shaky

June 2, 2015

The new disaster flick San Andreas takes a harsh look at what might happen if the largest earthquake in history struck the West Coast: crumbling skyscrapers, a towering tsunami and gaping gashes in the ground. But could it…

Freeway collapses were among the damage from the 1994 Northridge quake, caused by a previously unknown fault. Photo courtesy of FEMA, by Robert Eplett.

Little-known Faults

June 1, 2015

Beneath Los Angeles rise peaks of staggering height — an unnamed mountain range standing nearly 2 miles tall. Though they rival the San Gabriels in stature, you can’t see them: They’re hidden beneath…

While some areas of California are more likely to have earthquakes than others, all of California is at higher risk compared to the rest of the country.

Are You Ready?

October 15, 2014

The Great California ShakeOut is coming. USC will participate in the state’s annual earthquake drill on Thursday, Oct. 16 at 10:16 a.m. The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) housed in USC Dornsife created The…

An overpass that collapsed on Highway 10 (now SR 42) in the Northridge/Reseda area at the epicenter of the earthquake in 1994. Since the quake, the Southern California Earthquake Center, based at USC Dornsife, has created a clearer picture of earthquake risks faced by regions throughout Southern California.

Strides in Earthquake Science

January 17, 2014

Twenty years ago, a fault that scientists didn’t even know existed slipped, triggering a massive 6.7 magnitude earthquake centered beneath the San Fernando Valley, with shockwaves rippling throughout the greater Los…

Professor of Earth Sciences Thorsten Becker has been awarded a 2013 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award. He will use the award to continue his research on the dynamics of earthquake faults in Potsdam, Germany. Photo by Michelle Boston.

Finding Fault

November 20, 2013

Thorsten Becker, professor of earth sciences, has won a 2013 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award, granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The award will support his continued research in Potsdam, Germany, on the…

University Professor Thomas Jordan of USC Dornsife with his 2012 Outstanding Contribution to the Public Understanding of the Geosciences Award during a Nov. 4 ceremony in North Carolina. Photo courtesy of the American Geosciences Institute.

Tom Jordan Earns AGI Award

November 6, 2012

University Professor Thomas Jordan, W. M. Keck Foundation Chair in Geological Sciences and professor of earth sciences, has won the 2012 Outstanding Contribution to the Public Understanding of the Geosciences Award. Jordan,…

Mark Benthien, director for communication, education and outreach for the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) and executive director of the Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA), which are both headquartered in USC Dornsife, has been named a White House Champion of Change for his international work. Photo courtesy of John Marquis.

Mark Benthien Honored by the White House

February 10, 2012

The 6.7-magnitude Northridge earthquake that shook Southern California in 1994 did more than rattle Mark Benthien out of his bed at UCLA. It reaffirmed his commitment to earthquake preparedness. After that quake, which killed…

USC students drop, cover and hold on during a 2010 Great ShakeOut drill on the University Park campus. Photo by Shirley Shin.

ShakeOut Drills Expected to Top 9 Million Participants

October 17, 2011

More people than ever will be crouching under desks at 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 20, as the 2011 Great California ShakeOut gains participants in California and across the country. Registrations from California residents for the…

The Great California ShakeOut

Los Angeles' 8.8 Wake-Up Call

October 15, 2010

"We live in earthquake country and every day is earthquake season." This is Tom Jordan's mantra. The director of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) based in USC College notes that while residents elsewhere in…