A new research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface on April 25 has revealed that large chunks of crust were pressed and twisted off Southern California and Baja California due to tectonic plates grinding past each other.

Researchers warmed that this crust could lead to catastrophic fault ruptures that could set off undersea tremors that range between magnitudes 7.9 and 8.0. Geologists also said that the fault zone could spell tsunami disasters for San Diego and Los Angeles.

Study author Mark Legg, from Legg Geophysical, said that such catastrophes already happened in the past.

"We know in the recent past, probably in the last few hundred years, there have been large magnitude 7-plus earthquakes on these offshore faults," Legg said. "So, we should not be surprised if we have anotherUSGS ."

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has in fact identified earthquakes that claimed properties and lives when they struck California. Here are the biggest earthquakes that hit the state:

Fort Tejon; January 9, 1857
Magnitude 7.9

The earthquake, which occurred on the San Andreas fault, was the largest Earthquake that hit California to date. The tremors were experienced throughout southern and northern California and even in Las Vegas but it only left one fatality.

Owens Valley; March 26, 1872
Magnitude 7.4

The worst impact of this earthquake hit Lone Pine where 52 adobe or stone houses out of 59 were destroyed. The quake resulted in the death of 27 people. Parts of Owen Valley also had their share of fatalities.

Imperial Valley; February 24, 1892
Magnitude 7.8

The 7.8 earthquake that hit near Baja, California was characterized by rock slides and ground fissures. It was also followed by about 155 tremors. Aftershocks continued to be felt every few days until April 1892. Fortunately, the region affected by the earthquake was largely uninhabited and no one was reported dead.

San Francisco; April 18, 1906
Magnitude 7.8

The so called "Great Quake" of 1906 struck early in the morning and damaged over 80 percent of the city as a result of the tremors and fires. The death toll was estimated to be around 700 but the number is now believed to be at least 3,000.

West of Eureka; January 31, 1922
Magnitude 7.3

The offshore quake was caused by the Mendocino fault and was felt from Eugene, Oregon, to San Francisco.

Kern County; July 21, 1952
Magnitude 7.3

The earthquake destroyed property estimated at $60 million and killed a dozen people. Almost 200 aftershocks of magnitude 4.0 and greater were reported through the month of September.

Photo: USGS | Flickr

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