Are Earthquakes Just a Fact of Life in California?

All retirement destinations have their faults, but when you are talking about actual ‘faults’, California comes right to mind! When people begin evaluating retirement communities, they usually have quite a laundry list: Weather, affordability, taxes, recreational opportunities . . . I’m often amused when I hear people say, “California would be nice, but the earthquakes there are too much for me to even consider a move.”

Utah mountains
Utah earthquake safety procedure: duck and cover

I was born and raised in Utah. As a teenager I worked in a ‘greasy spoon’ and would occasionally hear tourists say they were uncomfortable with tall mountains. “What if there were earthquakes? Can you imagine all that dirt and all those rocks coming down on us?” (I actually did imagine that very thing when they changed their order for the fifth time.)

This is a picture of the landscape where I spent my youth. I found it strong and assuring, not worrisome or threatening, and I couldn’t understand the fraidy-cat whining.

I didn’t know until I was in college that I had spent my life living nearly astride the Wasatch Fault. In California we make do with ‘strip-slip’ and ‘oblique’ faults, whereas the fault in my mother’s front yard was a ‘dip-slip’.  (There actually was a chance the mountain could have come down on those poor, complaining, unsuspecting tourists who were always so angry about getting directions to the ‘Stake House’ [no restaurant there!] when they wanted to find a ‘Steakhouse’.)

The Bay area: very “fault”-y

Earlier this year, there was a 6.0 earthquake near Napa that made the national news. I’m sure the result in more than one domicile was lively living-room conversation comparing nature’s various evils including tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Here’s what I think: if you think about it long enough, you can find a reason not to be anywhere.

With that said, here is what you ned to know about Rincon del Rio and earthquakes. We are located in a part of California that is so beautiful, so special, and so inviting there isn’t a fault line to be found until you reach the Cascades, over an hour away.

Besides, most of the damage from an earthquake happens to structures built on ‘fill’ as the shaking liquefies the ground (kind of like a vibrator in concrete).  Rincon del Rio is built on and into the land as it stands; we’re not looking to reshape the earth in order to live on it. We like the topography  here just as it is!

So, welcome to Rincon del Rio—built on bedrock—in more ways than one!



Carol Young is a resident of Auburn, CA in Nevada County one of the most beautiful places on earth.Along with her husband Jim and their children Mac and Aubree, the family partnership is developing an active-adult community with a working farm to provide farm-to-fork dining for the residents, 80% open space, and a genuine “sense of place”.They all agree that “Nature is our Niche” and want to build a community for people to live the best years of their lives with a renewed spirit of purpose.

If you have suggestions or questions for Rincon del Rio, please contact Carol: