Loma Prieta Earthquake

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Today is the 24th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, which shook San Francisco just before the A’s and Giants took the field for Game 3 of the 1989 World Series. Tim McCarver was in the middle of recapping Game 2 for viewers when the quake struck.

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October 17, 1989: The Loma Prieta earthquake hits the Bay Area. 

Arguably the last major earthquake to hit Northern California (an area notorious for seismic activity), the Loma Prieta earthquake occurred at 5:04 P.M. shortly before the third game of the World Series began at Candlestick Park. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as “the World Series Earthquake”, and because of television coverage of the game, it became the first earthquake to have its initial quake captured live on television (see here).

The first quake lasted between 10-15 seconds and measured a 6.9 on the Richter Scale, or just under the magnitude of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The earthquake killed 63 people and destroyed or damaged several buildings (including some that had withstood the 1906 earthquake). But despite the loss, many residents of the Bay saw the tragedy as an opportunity to rebuild as safer, more earthquake-prepared communities.

Remember this image? Remember this day?

This is from the Bay Bridge in 1989 after the Loma Prieta earthquake which happened on October 17th 1989. It also happened to be the Battle of the Bay World Series between the Oakland A’s and the SF Giants, game 3.

I was walking home from a friends house down the street, and as I was waiting for a car to go by and cross to my house, all of the sudden, I fell to the ground. Not knowing exactly what happened, but feeling this eerie feeling, I ran across the street to my house, I opened the door and found my mom and brother under the table. I then looked outside and saw our entire pool in a tidal wave. I will never forget that image! It was such a frightening jolt and a scary next few days, with a few after shocks.

Say goodbye to your glassware.....

I am told that a man who predicted the 89 Loma Prieta quake has predicted a quake of around magnitude 4.5 for this week in San Francisco.

4.5 only? That’s child’s play!

Incidentally, I am writing an article on the topic of California earthquake probabilities for the next issue of The Guardsman, and will be interviewing experts from the U.S. Geological Society, as well as the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Apparently USGS and Cal-Tech have some intriguing differences in their theories in this regard. I’ll keep mum on that until I ascertain exactly what people are willing to say on the record……

October 17th, 1986

25 years ago today one of the events that led to me becoming to a geologist occurred…it was a great tragedy but still started an interest in the working of the earth later in life. As a little kid, I looked back and wondered. It all begins somewhere…

So many didn’t survive, but maybe in the future we won’t have to be afraid of earthquakes…

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Educate yourselves.

Part 2

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Good monin’, it’s Frydee, Octob’r 17, 2014. Twantee-fife yeers ago today, Nerthern Califernyins suddenlee felt t’earth move beneeth ‘um. T’ Loma Prieta Earthkwake, as it would be namet officiallee, wuz a 6.9 tembler at lastid onlee 15 sekunds, but if’n y’all wuz thar — as I wuz — it s…

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Speaking of earthquakes, this is the one I experienced. We were living in Milpitas, which is about halfway between Fremont and San Jose on the map below:

Yup. It was pretty scary. I was only four at the time; my sister was 12 days shy of her second birthday. We had just sat down at the dining table. My mom put our TV dinners in front of us and almost immediately after, the lamp hanging from our tall ceiling started to sway.

My mom yelled at me to grab my sister and get under the coffee table; it was a 1.5ft high, solid oak table, so pretty good cover. My sister was screaming, trying to get to my mom while I worked on dragging her over to the table and under it.

Whereas my mom braced herself against the couch and held up our 80 gallon aquarium.

Thankfully, we came out of it with no injuries, and from what I can remember, our house was assessed as having no damage.

It was crazy scary, though, especially afterward, seeing all those images on the news of the collapsed highway and stuff.

The Day The Series Stopped (2014) - *** 1/2


I was eight when the 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake shook San Francisco to its core and interrupted the broadcast of the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s.  I can’t remember if I was watching this Bay Series when the earthquake occurred, but the images of the devastating results are some of the earliest news coverage that I can remember.  The shot of the collapsed double decker bridge is one that has always been seared into my brain, so I was anxious to see this 30 for 30 documentary to see what I remembered and what was completely new information to me.



The fact that this earthquake happened during such a huge event like the World Series is one thing, but the fact that it happened when two teams from the same area were playing is pretty crazy.  The innovativeness of the editing of this documentary is pretty amazing.  Visually, I was pretty astounded about how they graphically showed how this earthquake occurred.  It also shows how much video technology has come around because if this event happened today, we would have over a thousand camera angles of the earthquake itself.  Director Ryan Fleck does a great job visually showing us this earthquake without having the coverage to do so.



This is not the story’s fault, but the fact that none of the players were physically impacted by the earthquake makes the emotional connection not as strong.  I’m thankful for this because I wish no harm on anybody, but there are a lot of “what if” moments that are used to fill the emotional gaps.  The personal stories outside of the ballgame are pretty harrowing and they really carry the weight of the film, not the baseball portion.

Still, this is another great 30 for 30 film that documents that weird synergy when sports and life combine to leave an iconic mark on American history.  I wonder if the film would have been more impactful if it was a bit longer and not as rushed, but I still think this is a great film to watch, especially if you remember when that devastating earthquake hit.


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Good morning, it’s Friday, October 17, 2014. Twenty-five years ago today, Northern Californians suddenly felt the earth move beneath them. The Loma Prieta Earthquake, as it would be named officially, was a 6.9 temblor that lasted only 15 seconds, but if you were there — as I was — it seemed longer.

In those 15 seconds, the double-decked Cypress Freeway in Oakland pancaked, so did a section of San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway. Dozens of buildings collapsed in the city’s Marina District, where fires lit up the sky. A section of the Bay Bridge fell into the water.

Sixty-three people died in the quake, a death toll that seems more merciful in post-9/11 America than it did at the time.

A local seismological event, it was shared nationally because the earthquake hit moments before Game 3 of the 1989 World Series was to begin at Candlestick Park. The game was postponed. This morning, as Bay Area residents remember Loma Prieta’s 25th anniversary, San Francisco Giants’ fans have a warmer memory in mind — and a fresher one: Last night, Travis Ishikawa, a journeyman first baseman, homered in the 9th inning to put the Giants in the Series again.

That’s all I have on earthquakes and baseball this morning. After directing you, as I do each weekday, to RealClearPolitics’ front page — and to original material from RCP’s reporters and contributors — I’ll have a word about a most extraordinary gesture by a U.S. president: 40 years ago today, Gerald R. Ford testified before Congress on the subject of his pardoning of Richard Nixon.  

But first, a word from today’s sponsor, C-SPAN:

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The power of U.S. presidents to issue pardons and clemency orders, enshrined in the Constitution, is inviolate. And 31 days into his presidency, Ford employed that prerogative in a way that would compromise his chances of being elected in his own right two years later.

In their re-telling of the Watergate story 40 years after the fact, former Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward have both related Bernstein’s impassioned response upon learning that Ford had issued a preemptive pardon to Nixon.

“That son of a b***h pardoned the son of a b***h!” Bernstein told his colleague.

He wasn’t the only one who felt that way. The White House switchboard lit up with angry phone calls. Democrats in Congress swiftly passed (utterly symbolic) resolutions calling on the president to refrain from issuing any Watergate pardons until the defendants had been tried, convicted, and their appeals exhausted. Some Democratic House members wondered aloud about whether Ford and Nixon had struck this deal before Ford was chosen as vice president.

No evidence of any such thing has ever emerged. And Ford’s explanation, widely accepted today, never varied: He wanted to put Watergate behind us all and get on with the business of governing the country.

It wasn’t only Democrats who were dismayed by the pardon, however. Jerald terHorst, Ford’s longtime friend and recently appointed White House press secretary, resigned over it, and never changed his mind about doing so.

But this was a minority view, and among those who came around to the realization that Ford had performed a deeply patriotic deed was the indefatigable Washington Post duo.

“It turns out it really was a courageous and necessary act,” Bernstein said recently. “Gerald Ford, I think partly by being a member of Congress before he was vice president, understood how necessary it was for the system no longer to be so enmeshed in Watergate in such a way that it would go on for another couple of years.”

Ford was courageous in another way, too, one that reverberates to our time. After his presidency passed into the history books, presidents of both political parties resumed their reluctance to share their decision-making process with Congress. Not former Michigan congressman Jerry Ford.

On October 17, 1974 — 40 years ago today — President Ford went to Capitol Hill to explain himself to the House Judiciary Committee, a panel dominated by Democrats who’d been appalled by what they’d learned of Nixon’s actions in the White House. (Here, courtesy of C-SPAN, is an excerpt from that testimony.)

In a recent interview with American History TV, presidential scholar Richard Norton Smith explains why Ford was willing to become the first president since Lincoln to testify before a congressional committee:

“This is where 25 years on Capitol Hill played dividends,” Smith noted. “He was confortable going into that lion’s den.”

Ford gave as good as he got that day, and never wavered in his conviction that he’d done the right thing. Nixon was not prosecuted criminally for his actions during Watergate, but Ford believed he hadn’t gotten away with a thing.

“Although I respected the tenet that no man should be above the law, public policy demanded that I put Nixon — and Watergate — behind us as quickly as possible,” Ford wrote in his 1979 autobiography. “Being forced to resign the Presidency and live with that humiliation the rest of his life was a severe punishment in itself, the equivalent to serving a jail term.”

Campaign 2014 debates continue all this week on the C-SPAN Networks. Tonight, Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Mary Burke (D) in the second and final debate in the Wisconsin governor race, LIVE at 8 p.m. Eastern time on C-SPAN.

Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau Chief
RealClearPolitics
Twitter: @CarlCannon


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RAW was amazing, 49ers are winning and my man Patrick Willis doin WORK, seriously this is a great ass night

also i’ve never been to candlestick park and it’s one of the most historic stadiums in sports history

it’s not 49ers related but I find it awesome how during the World Series 25 years ago there was a deadly ass earthquake and the stadium was like “fuck an earthquake I can handle this” and the only damage was on the outside of the stadium 


California’s governor declared a state of emergency Sunday following a strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake that seriously injured three people including a child and ignited fires in the scenic Napa valley wine region. The US Geological Service said that the quake was the most powerful to hit the San Francisco Bay area since the 1989 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake. The quake sent at least a top corner of a brick building tumbling into the street in Napa.
Source: AFP