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The magnitude 6.7 Northridge, California, earthquake of 17 January 1994

Science

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Abstract

The most costly American earthquake since 1906 struck Los Angeles on 17 January 1994. The magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake resulted from more than 3 meters of reverse slip on a 15-kilometer-long south-dipping thrust fault that raised the Santa Susana mountains by as much as 70 centimeters. The fault appears to be truncated by the fault that broke in the 1971 San Fernando earthquake at a depth of 8 kilometers. Of these two events, the Northridge earthquake caused many times more damage, primarily because its causative fault is directly under the city. Many types of structures were damaged, but the fracture of welds in steel-frame buildings was the greatest surprise. The Northridge earthquake emphasizes the hazard posed to Los Angeles by concealed thrust faults and the potential for strong ground shaking in moderate earthquakes.The most costly American earthquake since 1906 struck Los Angeles on 17 January 1994. The magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake resulted from more than 3 meters of reverse slip on a 15-kilometer-long south-dipping thrust fault that raised the Santa Susana mountains by as much as 70 centimeters. The fault appears to be truncated by the fault that broke in the 1971 San Fernando earthquake at a depth of 8 kilometers. Of these two events, the Northridge earthquake caused many times more damage, primarily because its causative fault is directly under the city. Many types of structures were damaged, but the fracture of welds in steel-frame buildings was the greatest surprise. The Northridge earthquake emphasizes the hazard posed to Los Angeles by concealed thrust faults and the potential for strong ground shaking in moderate earthquakes.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The magnitude 6.7 Northridge, California, earthquake of 17 January 1994
Series title:
Science
Volume
266
Issue:
5184
Year Published:
1994
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Assoc for the Advancement of Science
Publisher location:
Washington, DC, United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Science
First page:
389
Last page:
397