Southern California Earthquake Data Center

Significant Earthquakes and Faults

Chronological Earthquake Index

Long Beach Earthquake

Type of Faulting: right-lateral strike-slip
Time: March 10, 1933 / 5:54 pm, PST
Location: 33° 37' N, 117° 58' W 5 km (3 miles) south of present-day Huntington Beach
Magnitude: MW6.4


This earthquake occurred on the Newport-Inglewood fault zone, a system of right-lateral strike-slip faulting. There was no surface rupture associated with this earthquake. It resulted in 120 deaths and over $50 million in property damage. Most of the damaged buildings were of unreinforced masonry. Many school buildings were destroyed. Fortunately, however, the children were not present in the classrooms.


The collapse of part of Jefferson Junior High School in Long Beach.
(Photo: Portland Cement Association)


The shaking brought down the second floor of the Young Hotel in Compton.
(Photo: H.M. Engle)


This earthquake led to the passage of the Field Act, which gave the State Division of Architecture authority and responsibility for approving design and supervising construction of public schools. Building codes were also improved.


Other Links

Article from the National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering: "The Long Beach Earthquake of 1933"