Loma Prieta Earthquake


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.


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.

I once heard a story (originally told by Kevin Young) about Gerson Goldhaber, who was a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He was talking on the phone with another physicist at SLAC near Stanford University near the end of the day on Tuesday, October 17, 1989. The SLAC physicist suddenly interrupted with, “Gerson, I have to go! There’s a very big earthquake happening!” and then hung up. So Gerson stepped out into a group of people in the hall, made a big show of yawning and checking his watch, then said, “Aren’t we about due for an earthquake?” Before anyone could respond, the Loma Prieta earthquake reached Berkeley, and he became a legend.

(Taken from the xkcd blag)


June 2015. The final stages of the demolition of Candlestick Park, former home of the San Francisco Giants and Forty-Niners. All that remains are parts of the outfield deck, the red escalator arch, and a concession stand (where there are probably still Harry Stevens hotdogs sitting in stale water). And one final opportunity to thank that miserable, ugly, freezing ballpark for not crashing down on our heads at 5:04 pm on October 17, 1989, during the Loma Prieta earthquake while we were waiting for the start of the Bay Bridge World Series game 3 between the Giants and the Oakland A’s.

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……

Movie Review: 30 For 30: “The Day The Series Stopped” (2014)

Movie Review: 30 For 30: “The Day The Series Stopped” (2014)

Title: 30 for 30: “The Day The Series Stopped”
Release Date: 12 October 2014
Director: Ryan Fleck
Production Co: Electric City Entertainment
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: Documentary | Sports
Rating: ***

Review: The ESPN 30 for 30 documentary series takes us back to October 1989 when the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s was interrupted by the Loma Prieta…

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Educate yourselves.

Part 2

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…


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.

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 

A noo artikle has dunben rote ahn WWW.GITERDONENEWS.COM

thar’s a noo artikle ha dunben wrote uhn www.giterdonenews.com calt

Presented by C-SPAN: Ebola Becomes Campaign Issue; Response Could Be Federalized; Jerry Ford’s Courageous Move


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…

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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