During the earthquake, a total land area of about 4,300 km2 was shaken with seismic intensities that can cause significant damage to structures. The area of the Marina District of San Francisco is only 4.0 km2--less than 0.1 percent of the area most strongly affected by the earthquake--but its significance with respect to engineering, seismology, and planning far outstrips its proportion of shaken terrain and makes it a centerpiece for lessons learned from the earthquake.
The Marina District provides perhaps the most comprehensive case history of seismic effects at a specific site developed for any earthquake. The reports assembled in this chapter, which provide an account of these seismic effects, constitute a unique collection of studies on site, as well as infrastructure and societal, response that cover virtually all aspects of the earthquake, ranging from incoming ground waves to the outgoing airwaves used for emergency communication.
The Marina District encompasses the area bounded by San Francisco Bay on the north, the Presidio on the west, and Lombard Street and Van Ness Avenue on the south and east, respectively. Nearly all of the earthquake damage in the Marina District, however, occurred within a considerably smaller area of about 0.75 km2, bounded by San Francisco Bay and Baker, Chestnut, and Buchanan Streets.
At least five major aspects of earthquake response in the Marina District are covered by the reports in this chapter: (1) dynamic site response, (2) soil liquefaction, (3) lifeline performance, (4) building performance, and (5) emergency services.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Chapter F. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Marina District