SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — There are more than 500 active faults and 15,700 known faults in California, and most residents live within 30 miles of an active fault, according to the California Earthquake Authority, the independent organization created by the state to manage insurance policies related to earthquakes.
In Northern California, there is a 76% chance that an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 or greater will strike within a 30-year period that began in 2014, according to the CEA.
While that hasn’t happened yet, there are several smaller earthquakes that have been felt in the Sacramento area, although they did not necessarily occur close to the city.
While earthquakes are common throughout California, residents of the Sacramento area may ask themselves, ‘Do any of the major fault lines pass through or near Sacramento?’
Fault lines near Sacramento
The short answer is, yes, there are fault lines within a few dozen miles of the city. However, it’s important to note that earthquakes, particularly stronger ones, can be felt hundreds of miles away from their origin.
It wouldn’t matter that a high-magnitude quake occurred on the coast; a very strong quake in this area could potentially be felt all the way across California into Nevada.
According to CEA, the nearest fault lines to the Sacramento area are the Cleveland Hills Fault, near Oroville, and the Sierra Nevada Fault, on the Eastern Sierra. The San Joaquin Fault Zone lies to the south of Sacramento.
There are smaller faults near Dunnigan Hills, near Zamora in Yolo County, and Auburn in Placer County, but these have likely not seen tectonic movement in hundreds of thousands of years, or even longer.
The Cleveland Hills and Sierra Nevada Faults are active, while the San Joaquin Fault Zone is only active on its edges, even farther away from Sacramento, according to CEA.
What major fault is near Sacramento?
Of the larger and more active fault lines, the Hayward Fault is the closest to Sacramento, running along the East Bay in a north-south direction close to the water.
According to the California Department of Conservation, the risks that Sacramento faces from earthquakes are landslides, liquefaction (underground gases turning into liquids) and levee failure.