"The biggest quake of the decade"

Logan Tang

“The quake overtook the entire San Francisco region!”

A startling earthquake shakes the ground near the Monterey Bay and San Francisco areas. On the day of October 17, 1989 at precisely 5:04 am with a shocking magnitude of 6.9 the “ Loma Prieta Quake” struck with such force that it began the fluctuation of many parts of the California region. The Loma Prieta Quake drew its power from the San Andreas Fault - a rather long fault running through the west side of California. This quake took rather hard blows to the state. Schools alone received an estimated eighty-one million dollars worth of damages. As if this was not enough, one point eight billion dollars were lost in the transportation agency. As a whole, our state paid a total of six billion dollars to repair (including other agencies). In the aftermath sixty-three people had died and more than three thousand had been injured. It has been the biggest earthquake in that region since the San Francisco fire of 1906.

During my interview I got a chance to meet up with my dad who I found had been victim to the devastating quake. “ I was visiting Napa Valley with some of my relatives and my dad. I was staying in a home near the general Napa Valley area when the quake started. I was awoken by the sounds of plates shaking in their cabinets. I had thought a car had slammed into the house but I could not tell the time, because when I looked back I found my digital clock had stopped working. It was not until then that I realized I had been caught in an earthquake.”

My dad continued - “ The plates continued to chatter and began falling out of their stacks and crashing onto the floor. The shattering made quite a noise but still, some family members continued their sleep. After an ear-piercing crack gave way, it was over, the earthquake had stopped. Upon searching the house my dad found that the crack came from the ceiling which appeared to have been fractured by the moving plates.” As my dad explained his ordeal or near death experience, I realized that my dad must have been pushed into a state of fear or shock. The coordinates of the epicenter are: 37.04ºN 121.88ºW or in the San Jose area. My dad was far enough from the epicenter but still recieved a rather hard hit from the earthquake. This goes to show how powerful the quake was. He was very lucky to survive and I hope that our state is prepared for the next big quake.

I asked my dad what he did when the earthquake started and what he felt he should do in a situation like he was in. “ I believe you should grab on to a steady object and crouch down. This allows for the object to hold you steady for the few seconds of the earthquake.” Experts generally recommend the same approach but usually since my dad was still in his bed they actually recommend covering your head and neck with your hand and a pillow. Scientists actually found out in a study that most people who get out of their beds during a quake would not have actually been harmed if they had not got out of bed. In every situation though, most sources say not to panic because going down stairs or elevators during quakes could be fatal. To conclude, some effects of earthquakes could be irreversible, and to prepare for a situation as major as the Loma Prieta quake was a rather large challenge to the people of California. Earthquake awareness will continue to expand and grow to the point of where we will be able to predict accurately, prepare, and know much more about these natural occurrences.

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“Wreckage which resulted from the quake.”