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.

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……

22 years ago today

October 17 — the Loma Prieta Earthquake devastated the Bay Area. At 10am on Saturday, November 5 as part of the Bay Area Science Festival, “Walk the Hayward Fault” with USGS scientist Jim Lienkaemper and learn the science behind such events, and how to be prepared for “the Big One.”.


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