Mapping our quakes

From Salt Lake City to Hawaii, the West stands on shaky ground

Sunset and earthquakes have a long history together: The 1906 San Francisco quake destroyed the magazine’s offices. And like a lot of our readers, our editorial staff has vivid recollections of more recent quakes.

“It was 4:30 in the morning,” one L.A.-based senior writer recalls of the 1994 Northridge quake. “All my windows burst open, the electrical wires outside were arcing, the whole apartment filled with blue light.”

Another editor worked in downtown Santa Cruz when the 1989 Loma Prieta quake struck; he leapt from his desk moments before a wall of windows shattered on it.

These were California earthquakes. But as our map shows, much of the West is seismically vulnerable. Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Washington — all have experienced 7.0 (or bigger) earthquakes, and can expect to experience them again.

The anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake — is an ideal time to prepare for the inevitable. Use our earthquake guide to make your home safer for the next big shake. After all, you’ll want to be around to share your own stories.