Paper pub. date
January 2001
ISBN 9780870714931 (paperback)
6 x 9 inches, 416 pages. Maps.Glossary, Bibliography. Index.

Living with Earthquakes in California

Robert S. Yeats

Over the past century, California has moved from denying the hazards posed by earthquakes — they were bad for business — to adopting building codes and protective Legislation that are today the most advanced in the world. In Living with Earthquakes in California, Robert Yeats, a leading expert on earthquake geology, describes California's revolutionary efforts to grapple with the earthquake threat. His book is a general reader's guide to California earthquakes, combining current research with practical safety information.

Beginning with a brief introduction to the geological setting of earthquakes, Yeats leads readers through a lively and lucid narrative that

  • describes the major faults that threaten Northern and Southern California and Nevada,
  • explores topics ranging from earthquake forecasting and catastrophe insurance (the California Earthquake Authority is the largest residential insurer in the world) to the risks of tsunamis and soil liquefaction,
  • reviews the current level of earthquake preparedness and disaster response, including the role of government, scientists, and the public in creating awareness and policy,
  • suggests actions that citizens can take to protect their families and homes.

Living with Earthquakes provides a detailed account of California's violent geologic past and a concise history of the state's innovative approaches to earthquake awareness and preparation. It also serves as a how-to-manual for life in earthquake country. Most importantly, however, it's a call to action. Earthquakes cannot be prevented, but the California experience provides a model for how society can learn to live with earthquakes — and survive them.

About the author

Robert S. Yeats is senior consultant for Earth Consultants International and professor emeritus in geology at Oregon State University. He is the author of Living with Earthquakes in California and co-author of The Geology of Earthquakes. He lives in Corvallis, Oregon.

Read more about this author


I. Boosters and Quakers: Three Centuries of People and Earthquakes in California
II. Tectonic Plates, Geologic Time, and Earthquakes
1. A Concept of Time
2. Plate Tectonics
3. Earhquake Basics
4. The San Andreas Fault System: The Big One
5. The Transverse Ranges: LA in the Squeeze
6. Shakes in the Back Country: Decades of Violence, Millennia of Silence
7. Cascadia
8. Memories of the Future: The Uncertain Art of Earthquake Forecasting
III. Shaky Ground and Big Waves
9. Solid Rock and Bowls of Jello
10. Tsunami!
IV. Prevention and Countermeasures
11. Earthquake Insurance: Betting Against Earthquakes
12. Is Your Home Ready for an Earthquake?
13. Earthquake Design of large Structures
14. The Federal Government and Earthquakes
15. The Role of State and Local Government
16. Preparing for the Next Earthquake
17. An Uncertain Appointment with a Restless Earth

Appendix A. Table of Significant Earthquakes in California
Appendix B. Glossary
Appendix C. Credits

Sign Up for Our Newsletter