CALIFORNIA IS A DISASTER HOTSPOT: A disaster hotspot is a vulnerable place at risk from two or more natural hazards.
The San Andreas fault runs the length of California- its part of the conservative plate boundary between the Pacific plate and the North American plate.
California has two or three earthquakes each year which are powerful enough to damage structures (5.5+ on the Richter Scale).
Past disasters include the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 (thought to have measured 7.8) which along with subsequent fires, destroyed much of the city.
Droughts in California can be caused by anticyclones (long-lasting periods of high air pressure with dry, sinking air). Dry, sinking air means no rain.
Another cause of drought in California is increased winds blowing westwards from the desert areas east of the state e.g. Arizona. The dry air contains no moisture to cause precipitation.
The wildfires in Southern California in October 2007 killed 22 people and destroyed 1300 homes.
They can be caused by earthquake on the sea bed or landslides into the sea.
A tsunami off the coast of Alaska in 1964 caused a tsunami to strike the northern coast of California, killing 12 people in Crescent City.
Landslides can also be triggered by earthquakes.
There hasn't been a volcanic eruption in California since 1915 (Lassen Peak).
Although California is a wealthy state, parts of the population are still vulnerable.
Lots of buildings are constructed upon unstable land which increases the risk of soil liquefaction (where the ground becomes more like a liquid) which can damage buildings an cause landslides. This was a major problem during the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Around 20% of Los Angeles residents live below the official poverty line. It is these people who have the lowest capacity to cope with the effects of a natural hazard.