Testing seismometers.

The Berkeley Seismological Laboratory conducts essential research on earthquakes and solid earth processes while collecting and delivering high quality geophysical data.

We provide robust and real-time earthquake and hazard information on Northern California earthquakes, in collaboration with our partners.

We enable the broad consumption of earthquake information by the general public while educating and training students at all levels.

Scence from San Andreas movie with a gaping chasm caused by an earthquake

The Mystery about Earthquake Fissures

It is one of the great myths surrounding earthquakes: During a strong temblor a gaping chasm opens up and swallows everything from humans, to animals and even houses. Sometimes these crevices are said to be many miles long. We in Northern California are partly to blame for this myth, because our seismic lore...

Michael Manga

Michael Manga Receives 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award

'My teaching and research are inseparable. I could not imagine doing one without the other. Teaching ensures that I deeply understand both core concepts and technical details – the foundations of research. To teach, in the classroom, laboratory, and field, I need to know current research priorities and key questions and keep up with new discoveries. This is especially true for introductory classes.'

Car flattened by 1992 quake

Today in Earthquake History: Cape Mendocino 1992

Petrolia is - by any measure - the tiniest of hamlets in California. Hidden deep in the woods of the Mattole River valley in Humboldt County only one extremely windy road in rather poor condition connects it to the rest of the world. On this road you can either drive 33 miles north through the very remote country of the Lost Coast until you reach the touristy town of Ferndale...

Diego Melgar

Diego Melgar Receives Richter Award

The BSL's Diego Melgar accepted a Charles F. Richter Early Career Award at the 2017 annual Seismological Society of America meeting in Denver...

Plot of recent earthquakes on the Philippine Islands

Feeling Quakes Under Water

Earthquakes and scuba diving don't seem to have anything in common. If you happen to be on land when a temblor strikes, you will notice the shaking of the ground. Your legs may feel unsteady, you may even be thrown off balance and fall, if the ground motion is strong enough. The experience is certainly unnerving and it may even cause you to panic...

Google Earth image of seismic activity in Southern Africa

The Quake of the Kalahari

An extremely unusual earthquake occurred in southern Africa Monday evening around 8 pm (local time). The tremor with a magnitude of at least 6.5 struck a very remote region of the Kalahari desert in Botswana, as indicated by the yellow dot in the center of the Google Earth map. The seismic waves were felt in the country's capital Gabarone about 150 miles from the epicenter...