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45 years ago today, I was 18 years old, 9 months pregnant, and had just been awoken by the alarm clock going off at 6 AM.

One minute later, at 6:01, an earthquake jolted the Los Angeles area, its epicenter approximately 30 miles from where I was just waking up.

Dishes fell from the kitchen cabinets with a loud racket, light fixtures fell loose from the ceiling, hanging only by their electrical wires, items on shelves throughout our duplex apartment tumbled onto the floor in broken heaps. The window blinds broke loose from the window frames. The bed I was still lying in seemed to be riding the waves of the ocean as it leapt across the floor, stopped only by the wall it came to rest against. The shaking seemed as if it would never stop, although it only lasted twelve seconds.

I don’t remember much of the details of the days that immediately followed that quake; I went into labor that night and was admitted to the hospital amid major aftershocks that shook the building constantly. I do, however, remember asking the nurse, as I was being admitted, if this hospital was going to fall down, too (there were several hospitals in the area with major damage from collapses and a number of people died). She assured me that no, it was not. I’m not sure it did much for my confidence in building construction, though, because the aftershocks kept coming, for days.

The funny thing is that Mark was actually due the day he was born.

To this day, I still don’t place my bed under a window; I still check out the exits when I enter a room, especially a public area; I still don’t like to walk close to the buildings on a sidewalk and if the buildings are unreinforced masonry, I’d rather be walking in the street.

It was a rockin’ rollin’ time for sure…

House in Sylmar

1971 Sylmar damage


For more pics, google Sylmar Earthquake and click on images. The photos are a reminder of the power of Mother Nature and that each day we are here is a gift.

* * * * * * *

The short stats:

  • 6.6 on the Richter scale
  • 12 seconds in duration
  • along a 12-mile long section of the fault line
  • 64 deaths
  • 2,500 injuries
  • $550 million in damages
  • 3 hospitals damaged
  • at least 12 freeway bridges collapsed

Check out this story from the Los Angeles Daily News

Click here for the Wikipedia story

Go here for 6 interesting things about this earthquake

The Herald Examiner’s Extra Edition the day of the “Killer Quake”


There Was a Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On….

2 thoughts on “There Was a Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On….

  • February 9, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Gosh, I hadn’t heard that story! Amazing! Never experienced an earthquake, and hope I never do!

    • February 9, 2016 at 10:13 am

      I’ve been in a number of them, Lorna, and frankly, I’d choose an earthquake any day over a major flood or hurricane. The damage comes quickly and recovery can start almost immediately, whereas with other disasters, the damage can take hours or even days, and recovery has to wait to start until all the damage is done. I’d rather get on with it!

      That being said, I’d rather not be in any of them! Mother Nature is one mad being, that’s for sure 😀

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy that awesome PNW weather you’re having up there!

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