Dennis’ Tidbits


February 9, 2018

California often has had shakes for breakfast 

On this date (Feb 9, 1971) the ground provided the alarm clock. At precisely 6 a.m. a magnitude 6.6 quake rudely awakened a large part of Southern California with the epicenter under Sylmar way out in the San Fernando Valley, which claimed 66 lives and cause major structural damage totaling nearly two billion dollars.

Over the years California has seen quite a few quakes measuring 6 or more on the Richter Scale. On April 6, 1906 a catastrophic 7.9 flattened San Francisco. On March 10, 1933 the Long Beach quake measured 6.4. The epicenter was actually right under Newland Street where the power plant is in Huntington Beach. That shaker prompted new building codes for stronger structure throughout the region. The Newport Inglewood Fault was the culprit in that one. 

On July 10, 1952 the Inyo-Kern Fault ruptured heavily causing a very strong 7.5. I actually remember that one. I was almost five years old and my parents and I were still living in Hollywood where I was born. I was taking my afternoon nap and was literally thrown out of bed but was not injured. Then of course came the Sylmar quake on Feb 9, 1971, a 6.6.

On July 9, 1986 at 2:24 a.m. a 6.0 hit at a place called Windy Point just a few miles outside of Palm Springs. On October 1, 1987 a 6.0 erupted under the Whittier Narrows Dam destroying a lot of the old buildings built in the 1880’s in uptown Whittier when the Quakers occupied the town. Tricky Dick Nixon was from Whittier before he got tricky with our national security. 

On May 15, 1983 a 6.5 shook Hollister, inland from Point Conception. At 4:59 am on June 28, 1992 a 7.5 hit near Landers, way out in the boonies way past Joshua Tree. Fortunately the epicenter was very deep, around 60 miles, so it was more of a rolling sensation. The area is very sparsely populated so there were no casualties and minimal structural damage occurred. Then, just three hours later, at 7:59 a.m. a 6.6 quake occurred right under Big Bear Lake. That one was a real shaker, only being 12 miles deep. On Christmas Eve in 1988 a 6.4 hit near San Luis Obispo. On October 17, 1989 a 6.9 shook the Bay area as part of the Loma Prieta Fault under the Santa Cruz mountains disrupting the World Series at 5:04 p.m. The Marina District in San Francisco turned into quicksand as a result of liquefaction. That quake was even felt down here.

Finally, on January 17, 1994 on Martin Luther King Day a 6.7 hit under Northridge and that was really shallow, only 12 miles deep. Even though that one was 80 miles from Laguna, the shaking was quite violent, even down here. I almost forgot to mention the 7.4 that hit at 2:20 a.m. on October 15, 1999 out near Boron, about 160 miles ENE of here. That was more a roller than a shaker but they’re all scary! 

Enjoy the beach. It’s gonna be nice, once again. I’ll take it! 


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