The shallow earthquake is the latest in a string of recent temblors rumbling through the state
Research from Taiwan has indicated that large earthquakes were five times more likely to happen following severe storms.
Records show California is overdue for a magnitude 8 earthquake, and scientists warn that wildfires and landslides may make the destruction even worse.
Scientists have warned almost 1 million people would be impacted from flooding, with disadvantaged communities at greatest risk.
"Large earthquakes on the San Andreas fault system are a geological inevitability," seismologist Rick Aster told Newsweek.
Earthquakes are caused by tectonic plates suddenly slipping at fault lines, releasing large amounts of energy as seismic waves.
The 4.4-magnitude quake was felt by many in Santa Rosa, and a local fire department responded to gas leaks and stuck elevators.
Researchers found a greater potential for earthquakes in the central section at least as severe as the fatal 1994 Northridge quake.
Scientists are investigating the possibility the weight of the ancient lake may have caused more frequent, large ruptures on the fault.
A swarm of moderately sized earthquakes has hit California near the San Andreas fault, increasing the likelihood that a bigger earthquake could strike within the next seven days.
The ground deep below the Parkfield section of the fault was found to break frequently and melt the host rocks.
The swarm hit a section of the fault capable of producing earthquakes of magnitude 7 and above.
The Ridgecrest earthquakes in July last year left scars on the surface of Earth that could be seen from space.
The quakes occurred along the Mendocino Fracture Zone at the junction between the San Andreas Fault and Cascadia Subduction Zone.
Controversial research suggests these two huge tectonic regions are linked.
"The Garlock Fault has been quiet for a long time. But there's geologic evidence that there have been large earthquakes on it," the lead author of a new study said.
Blue Ocean Whale Watch company reports mass breaching just after the earthquake 35 miles away.
NASA officials have said that the plane was flying as part of a mission to study the effects of fire smoke on air quality.
Two strong earthquakes hit Southern California on July 4 and 5.
USGS scientist addresses spike in internet searches for Yellowstone caldera after the quakes.
This amounts to one earthquake hitting the region every three minutes.
A new report from the U.S. Geological Survey assesses the risk of volcanic eruptions across the state.
"It's a slow-moving disaster," an Imperial County official said.
In 1906, a powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake caused the deaths of up to 3,000 people and destroyed more than 80 percent of the city of San Francisco.
Geologists have identified a new type of fault movement at San Andreas.
Other vulnerable countries have had systems in place for years.
New evidence has found that the San Jacinto Fault zone, in California, is not as quiet as we thought and may be due for a big quake.