Posts Tagged ‘Loma Prieta earthquake facts’

Presented below is an epilogue for the Loma Prieta “Earthquake Collage” written by Robert Sward, a poet and novelist, from his work with students and faculty and staff at Cabrillo College. At the end, Mr. Sward provides information on his sources, a biography, and information on where this collage previously appeared. (Move back to Day 7, or on to the beginning of the collage.)

Famous facts about the earthquake
•    Length of time shaking was felt: 15 to 40 seconds
•    Length of time shaking reverberated in the Santa Cruz Mountains: Up to 6 minutes
•    Number of aftershocks over 3.0 magnitude: 90
•    Largest aftershock: 5.2 magnitude, 37 minutes after main quake
•    Number of calls to 911 in the first 24 hours after the quake: 1,400
•    Normal daily 911 volume: 260 calls
•    People killed in the quake in Santa Cruz County: 6
•    Chimneys dropped: approximately 5,000
•    Estimate of damage to businesses countywide: $84.9 million
•    Parking meter income lost in downtown Santa Cruz in first month after quake: $125,000
•    Estimate of golf course fees lost by the city in the first month: $200,000
•    Number of Pacific Garden Mall businesses operating in Phoenix Pavilion tents: 33
•    Percentage of roads which required repair: 60-80 percent
•    Days Highway 17 was closed to regular traffic: 33
•    Highway 17’s normal, average daily vehicle volume: 56,000
•    Highway 17’s vehicle volume the week of Nov. 13, while restrictions were imposed: 11,000
•    Dogs and cats reported missing after the quake: Nearly 1,000
•    Pets still missing a month later: 47 dogs, 158 cats
•    Epicenter’s coordinates: latitude 37 degrees and 2 minutes north, and longitude 121 degrees and 53 minutes west
•    Today’s odds against a major earthquake in the Bay Area: 10,950 to 1



Bay Area’s Biggest Quakes
Location is approximate epicenter
Year   Location         Magnitude
1836   Oakland              6.8
1838   San Francisco  7.0
1858   San Jose             6.1
1864   Gilroy                   5.9
1865   San Jose              6.3
1868   Oakland              6.8
1898   Sonoma              6.2
1906   San Francisco  8.3
1911   San Jose             6.6
1979   San Jose              5.9
1984   Morgan Hill       6.2
1989   Santa Cruz          7.1
Source: California Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology

fault: a crack where a geological layer of one age or type adjoins another
p-wave: essentially a sound wave, it travels fast, doesn’t pack much energy, and is like a warning shot preceding the “shear wave,” the Main Event
shear wave: follows the p-wave and, shaking the ground both horizontally and vertically, does most of the damage
seismos: from the Greek ‘seismos,’ ‘shock’ and ‘thwaesho,’ ’fear’
San Andreas Fault: “the geological spine of California,” the San Andreas Fault extends from Cape Mendocino on the northern California coast to the Salton Sea in southeastern California, near the Mexican border


5:04 P.M., The Great Quake of 1989, Greg Beebe, et. al. (Santa Cruz: Santa Cruz Sentinel, 1989)

Earthshaking, Cabrillo College English classes, R. Sward (editor), December, 1989

Interviews, October, 1989–San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, San Jose Mercury News, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Time Magazine

Robert Sward is a Guggenheim Award winner who, with his life partner, Gloria K. Alford, is a long-time Santa Cruz County resident. He has taught at Cornell University, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, UC Santa Cruz, and Cabrillo College, where he led classes in writing memoirs and life history. His “Earthquake Collage” evolved from work with Cabrillo College students, faculty and staff following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Sward’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies and been featured on National Public Radio’s Writers’ Almanac. His two most recent books, Collected Poems and God is in the Cracks, are now in their second printing.

Note: “Earthquake Collage” appeared earlier this year in both “Pathways to the Past, History Journal Number 6,” Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, with thanks to Joan Gilbert Martin, editor, and Santa Cruz Weekly, Oct. 14 – 21, 2009.


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