Loma Prieta Earthquake Oral History

UC Santa Cruz, near the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, announces publication of oral histories of the quake. Timely in light of the fact that I just read a book on California geology; the book concludes with a description of that quake. Here’s a link to the collection

From the introduction to the online transcripts:

On October 17, 1989 at 5:04 p.m. a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on the San Andreas Fault shook the Central Coast of California and lasted for fifteen seconds. The epicenter of the quake lay near Loma Prieta Peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, about ten miles northeast of the city of Santa Cruz, deep in the redwoods of Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. The focus point was at a depth of ten miles. This earthquake killed sixty-three people and injured 3,757 others, and caused an estimated six billion dollars in property damage. It was the largest earthquake to occur on the San Andreas fault since the great San Francisco earthquake in April 1906.

While the national media covered the damage in the San Francisco Bay Area extensively, far less attention was paid to the effects of the earthquake in Santa Cruz County, where the earthquake was actually centered. In the city of Santa Cruz much of the downtown Pacific Garden Mall, composed of older brick structures located on unconsolidated river sediments, collapsed, killing three people and injuring others. Ten miles to the south in Watsonville, a largely Spanish-speaking city, buildings also crumbled and people were killed. In the Santa Cruz Mountains, landslides closed many roads including Highway 17, which traverses the rugged mountains between Santa Cruz and San Jose, and for several days traffic was allowed through only in escorted convoys. [Read More]

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on August 25, 2006 in • Online Oral History Collections
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