Earthquake History: Loma Prieta
The ground beneath our feet, as solid and dependable as it may seem, has a history of tumultuous movement along the West Coast. While the regular occurrence of small, harmless earthquakes is part of life here, there are several historical events which stand out as much more significant. One of them is the Loma Prieta earthquake. It struck the San Francisco Bay Area on October 17, 1989, and stands as a stark reminder of the Earth’s unpredictability and the profound impact such events can have on communities.
Brief and Powerful
The Loma Prieta quake, named after the Loma Prieta peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, lasted for just about 15 seconds. However, in that short time, it claimed 63 lives, injured thousands, and caused billions of dollars in damages. With a magnitude of 6.9, it was the most devastating earthquake to hit the Bay Area since the infamous 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Structural Consequences and Lessons
From the collapse of a section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to the disintegration of freeways and unreinforced masonry buildings, the Loma Prieta earthquake revealed significant flaws in infrastructure. It was a hard lesson about the vulnerabilities present in modern urban landscapes.
However, this tragic event led to significant advancements in seismic engineering and city planning. The retrofitting movement gained momentum, with an emphasis on strengthening homes, bridges, overpasses, and buildings, ensuring that they could withstand future seismic events.
Remember to Be Prepared
Today, as we mark the anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, it’s essential to remember the lessons we learned from that day. While the advancements in technology have helped in predicting and preparing for such events, individual readiness remains paramount. It’s a call for families to have an emergency plan and be equipped with knowledge and tools and for communities to come together in reinforcing safety measures.
One more avenue of preparedness can be through Earthquake insurance for homeowners. It is essential to protect your largest asset in case of a major disaster. Policies can be secured from A.M. Best rated “Excellent” GeoVera. Online quoting and additional information about residential earthquake policies can be found at www.geovera.com.