Notable Earthquake of the Week
San Simeon (Bryson), California M 6.0 Earthquake

With most of central California still reeling from four months of constant aftershock activity due to the violent Kern County M 7.7 earthquake in July, 1952, the Bryson (San Simeon) M 6.0 earthquake at 11:46 p.m, November 21, probably went largely unnoticed.

The quake was centered in the central Santa Lucia Range about 5 miles north of Hearst Castle and caused widespread light to moderate damage to many surrounding towns, including Cambria, King City, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, San Simeon, and Santa Maria.

The temblor was felt from San Francisco and Petaluma in the north to Los Angeles to the south. Many chimneys twisted and fell, walls cracked and waterpipes were severed.

Although no surface fault ruptures were ever found, the quake is believed to have occurred along the Nacimiento fault zone – a broad set of short, discontinuous faults between Santa Maria and Big Sur.

Seismicity in the M 1.0 and M2.0 range still occurs along the geologic structure almost weekly, as have moderate quakes in the M 5.0 range from time to time (M 5.2, 1983; and M 5.2, 1991).


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