Credit: U.S. Geological Survey Department of the Interior/USGS (Silent, Color)
Video Producer: Don Becker , U.S. Geological Survey
Raw silent video footage of the damage from the Northridge, CA earthquake that occurred on 1/17/94. At 4:30 on the morning of January 17, 1994, some 10 million people in the Los Angeles region of southern California were awakened by the shaking of an earthquake. The earthquake, named for its epicenter in the town of Northridge, was a magnitude 6.7 (M = 6.7) shock that proved to be the most costly earthquake in United States history. The shaking heavily damaged communities throughout the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley, and their surrounding mountains north and west of Los Angeles, causing estimated losses of 20 billion dollars. Fifty-seven people died, more than 9,000 were injured, and more than 20,000 were displaced from their homes by the effects of the quake. Although moderate in size, the earthquake had immense impact on people and structures because it was centered directly beneath a heavily populated and built-up urban region. Thousands of buildings were significantly damaged, and more than 1,600 were later "red-tagged" as unsafe to enter. Another 7,300 buildings were restricted to limited entry ("yellow-tagged"), and many thousands of other structures incurred at least minor damage. The 10-20 seconds of strong shaking collapsed buildings, brought down freeway interchanges, and ruptured gas lines that exploded into fires. Fortuitously, the early morning timing of the earthquake spared many lives that otherwise might have been lost in collapsed parking buildings and on failed freeway structures.