If you want a good sense of where this earthquake fits in The Big Picture, and you have a high speed connection, check out these animations from UCSB’s Geology Department. They’re amazing.
shows the Salinas Block riding up the West Coast of North Americal like a steamship scraping against a dock. Today’s quake was one tiny moment in the history of this travelling terrane.
This one,, shows how the transverse (East-West) ranges, on which Santa Barbara rides, has rotated 180 degrees in a very short period of the Earth’s history.
shows how we’re still in mid-collision between Baja and Southern California.