Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reports of the Great California Earthquake of 1857


This publication reprints 77 primary accounts that describe the effects of the "Fort Tejon" earthquake of January 9, 1857, which was caused by the rupture of the San Andreas Fault from Parkfield to San Bernardino. These accounts include 70 contemporary documents (52 newspaper reports, 17 letters and journals, and one scientific paper) and seven reminiscences, which describe foreshocks, felt effects, faulting, and some of the aftershocks associated with this earthquake.

Most of the reports come from the major populated areas: Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Sacramento, and Stockton, but other areas are also covered. Notes on toponomy and other historical issues are included.

These documents were originally published as a microfiche supplement to D. C. Agnew and K. Sieh (1978), A documentary study of the felt effects of the great California earthquake of 1857, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Amer., vol. 68, pp 1717-1729. This reprinting is intended to make them more widely available on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of this earthquake.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View