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Parkfield, California: Earthquake Capital of the World

They love their magnitude 6.0+ seismic events here in tiny Parkfield. The town's only cafe provides a handout for a self-guided fault walking tour.

70410 Parkfield-Coalinga Rd, Parkfield, CA
From CA-41/46 in Cholame turn north at the green Parkfield sign onto Cholame Rd. Drive 15.5 miles. Turn right onto Parkfield-Coalinga Rd, cross the bridge across the fault, then drive another half-mile into town.
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San Andreas Fault highway sign.

Earthquake Capital of the World

The tiny town of Parkfield (population 18) experiences an earthquake of 6.0 or greater magnitude on average once every 22 years. Because of this, it has been dubbed the "Earthquake Capital of the World." The town is basically sitting on the San Andreas Fault line and has attracted numerous seismologists and researchers. It is nestled in the hills of Monterey County wine country.

When you enter the town, you cross a bridge with a sign for the fault. The cafe is worthy of a visit with its name and town slogan painted on a huge barrel.

Across the street is the Parkfield Lodge, and a little park in which a monument shows the movement of tectonic plates over decades.

[Scott Giorgianni, 11/25/2020]

Parkfield Cafe water tower.

Earthquake Capital of the World

Parkfield Cafe - Earthquake Capitol of the World: "Be Here When It Happens"

[Nick Barkemeyer, 07/27/2013]

Yes, when the big one hits count on us to be standing right in front of the rickety wooden water tower.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Shandon ChapelShandon Chapel, Shandon, CA - 15 mi.
Prehistoric Snail, Earthquake, Town HistoryPrehistoric Snail, Earthquake, Town History, Coalinga, CA - 17 mi.
Restored 1934 Richfield Gas StationRestored 1934 Richfield Gas Station, Coalinga, CA - 17 mi.
In the region:
James Dean Car Crash Site, Shandon, CA - 14 mi.

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