Northridge Rupture (Illustration)

Northridge Rupture (Illustration) Part of the Exploring Earth Using Seismology poster THE NORTHRIDGE EARTHQUAKE




In the early morning of January 17, 1994, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake changed the Northridge area east of Los Angeles forever. The quake left 51 people dead and 7,000 injured. It also caused over $20 billion in damage to buildings, highways and bridges. Although moderate in size, the Northridge earthquake was one of the costliest natural disasters in the United States.




The Northridge earthquake destroyed man-made structures and took lives, but it also helped build mountains. During the earthquake crustal material was moved 3 meters upward along a fault that ruptured 18km below the surface. On the surface, the Santa Susana Mountains north of Los Angeles rose by as much as 70 cm and moved almost instantaneously northwest by as much as 21 cm.

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