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.

Google Earth image showing location of station ORV

Oroville Dam Makes its own Earthquakes

The immediate danger to the highest dam in the United States, the Oroville Dam, is over - at least for now. While more than 180,000 people who had been evacuated along the Feather River downstream from the dam were able to return home earlier this week, the future of the 770 foot high earthen dam in California's Butte County is all but secure...

Cross sectional diagram of San Fernando Valley faults

Today in Earthquake History: San Fernando 1971

Forty-six years ago today, the possibility of such a sudden dam burst was the hair-raising fear, in the chaos and devastation following the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that struck the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles...

Map of Cape Mendocino quakes

Temblors where Three Plates Meet

We have often said in this blog that California's most seismically active region lies around Cape Mendocino, halfway between San Francisco and the Oregon border. Thursday morning's off-shore temblor with a magnitude of 6.5 was a reminder of the seismic hazard in this region...

Road is nearly cut in half due to NZ temblor.

An Earthquake of Two Flavors

Not all earthquakes are created equal. Instead, there are certain distinct flavors of earthquakes. In temblors "California Style" the two flanks of an earthquake fault slide past each other horizontally with no or only very little vertical movement...

Gravity map of San Pablo Bay

The Missing Link

It has long been suspected, but scientists could not be sure. Are two of the most dangerous earthquake faults in Northern California, the Hayward Fault and the Rodgers Creek Fault, separate entities or are they connected in some way? The answer to this question lies literally in the mud...

graph with error bars

Monitoring the Lassen Volcanic Center

The Lassen Volcanic Center sits atop a hydrothermal system that might one day be the scene of hydrothermal explosions. Researchers keep watch over this area, and a new form of monitoring may soon be added to their arsenal. The Berkeley Seismology Lab’s Taka’aki Taira, along with Florent Brenguier (Université Grenoble Alpes) have developed a system that analyzes seismic “noise” -- vibrations without a distinct source...

Arrows on map of Honshu show its shift to the East

Predicting Presidents and Not Earthquakes

In earthquake science, the 1970's and 1980's were full of hope that we seismologists would finally be able to answer one of the fundamental - and at the same time most vexing - questions society throws at us all the time: "When can we expect the next Big One?"...