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New state map tells you if you live in an earthquake fault zone

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It’s better to know now, before the shaking starts

A glass office building with broken windows due to the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
A building in West LA destroyed by the Northridge earthquake in 1994.
Joseph Sohm /

Living in fear that your home is on a fault line? Validate or negate your fears with a new map from the California Geological Survey.

The Los Angeles Times says the map allows users to input their address or share their location to see whether they’re living in a fault zone, in an area at risk of liquefaction zone (when shaking causes the ground to move like a liquid, meaning anything on top of it could slide), or in danger of a post-earthquake landslide.

The map goes navigates down to the parcel level, allowing users to go through a neighborhood property by property to see potential dangers in areas where they work and live.

The map shows where hazards exist, but that doesn’t mean those risks will materialize in an earthquake. “Not all such areas will actually see the ground break apart in the next big quake,” California Geological Survey geologist Tim McCrink tells the Times. “That depends on where the earthquake is, and which faults move.”

The map is mainly intended for people who are planning new construction or major renovations, McCrink says, but it’s also good to be aware of the potential risks in your area if you’re already living there—especially in light of a 2017 study that shows the city is due for an over 7.0 magnitude quake.

LA is already preparing for a major quake, in part by working toward its goal of retrofitting dingbat-like, soft-story buildings in the city. These types of buildings were especially vulnerable to collapse in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. As of January, about 9,000 buildings still need retrofits.

The city is also working to have an earthquake early-warning app by the end of this year.

A large portion of the San Fernando Valley is in a liquefaction zone.
Via California Geological Survey
Westside and Central LA liquefaction areas.
Via California Geological Survey