The U.S. Geological Survey announced that California is nearly guaranteed to see a magnitude 8 or higher in the next 30 years.
It's a nightmare that other parts of the world know all too well.
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake, the largest ever recorded in the area, left much of the Port-au-Prince, Haiti, area in despair in January 2010.
Haiti 2010: Bodies in streets
The 2010 Haiti quake killed an estimated 100,000 to 160,000 people and devastated infrastructure including landmarks, such as cathedrals.
Haiti 2010: 500,000 homeless
An estimated three million people were affected by the 2010 Haiti quake, including at least a half-million made homeless.
Indonesia 2004: Magnitude 9.1
The top photo in this composite shows the aftermath of an earthquake-triggered tsunami that hit Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, Indonesia, in December 2004.
The bottom photo shows the area with rebuilt housing in 2013.
Japan 1995: Magnitude 6.8
In January of 1995, the Japanese city of Kobe suffered a roughly 7-magnitude quake that lasted about 20 seconds. Nearly 6,500 people were killed.
Japan 1995: Never forgotten
Japanese survivors erect annual memorials to the Kobe quake, using lights to spell out the date of the disaster.
Japan 2011: Magnitude 9.0
The northeast coast of Japan faced deadly walls of water and other disasters resulting from this 2011 temblor.
Japan 2011: A high toll
The 2011 Japan quake toppled walls and caused floods that carried cars through towns.
Nearly 16,000 people died.
Indonesia 2004: Offshore quake
An estimated 230,000 people died as a result of the offshore Indonesia quake and ensuing tsunami.
Here, Indonesian workers install the names of the victims on the wall of the Tsunami Museum ahead of the 10th anniversary of the disaster.
Japan 1995: Roads destroyed
Kobe's earthquake toppled elevated highways and killed more than 5,000.
California 1994: Magnitude 6.7
The infamous Northridge earthquake in southern California was so powerful it spurred 466 fires.
The fires broke out after natural gas valves and mains ruptured.
Nearly 60 people died, and monetary damage was estimated at more than $20 billion after the magnitude 6.7 Northridge shaker.
Mexico 1985: Magnitude 8.1
Up to 40,000 people were killed by a 1985 quake that leveled parts of Mexico City.
Mexico 1985: City razed
More than 3,000 buildings were seriously damaged in Mexico City's quake.
Mexico 1985: Cruel geography
Oddly, towns closer to the epicenter of the Mexico City quake suffered less damage.
Geologists pointed to Mexico City's old lake bed foundation as part of the reason for the urban area's devastation.
China 1976: Magnitude 7.8
This photo was taken in Tangshan, China, in 2006, but the building is a relic of a disaster that took place decades earlier.
In 1976, a magnitude-7.8 quake struck the area in the middle of the night, killing more than 240,000.
China 1976: Memory lives on
The Tangshan Earthquake Memorial stands as a reminder of the temblor, which leveled the city of 1 million.
Chile 1960: Magnitude 9.5
This walk-in street crack was created by a May 1960 earthquake in Valdivia, Chile.
The magnitude: A staggering 9.5. An ensuing tsunami reached Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia and the Aleutian Islands.
Chile 1960: Thousands perish
Up to 6,000 people were believed killed in the Valdivia disaster.
Turkmenistan 1948: Magnitude 7.3
The then-Soviet outpost of Ashgabat, in Turkmenistan, went through a magnitude-7.3 quake in 1948.
The earthquake so devastated the region that up to 176,000 people died, and locals erected this memorial.
San Francisco 1906: Magnitude 7.8
This composite photo illustrates the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco quake, compared with the same section of the city 100 years later. Fires burned for days after the event, and an estimated 3,000 people died.