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Loma Prieta earthquake

The Loma Prieta earthquake occurred on October 17, 1989 in the greater San Francisco Bay Area at 5:04 pm local time and measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. The epicenter of the earthquake was in the Santa Cruz Mountains, about seven miles northeast of the town of Santa Cruz, California, in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park[?].

This was a major earthquake which caused severe damage as far as 70 miles away - most notably in San Francisco, Oakland, and the San Francisco Peninsula. Severe damage occurred closer to the epicenter in the communities of Santa Cruz, Watsonville[?], and Los Gatos.

There were 63 deaths as a result of this earthquake. The highest concentration of fatalities occurred in the collapse of the Nimitz Freeway[?] (Interstate 880[?]), where a double-decker portion of the freeway collapsed, crushing the cars on the lower deck. The Bay Bridge also collapsed, causing some cars to fall into the San Francisco Bay. Because this quake occurred at rush hour[?], there were a large number of cars on the freeways at the time.

Deaths in Santa Cruz occurred when brick storefronts in the historic downtown (what was then called the Pacific Garden Mall) tumbled down on people exiting the buildings.

The quake also caused 3,757 injuries and an estimated $6 billion in property damage. It was the largest earthquake to occur on the San Andreas Fault since the great San Francisco earthquake in April 1906.

Earthquake stories

The earthquake had been predicted in the morning edition of the San Jose Mercury News[?] in Kevin Cowherd's column. He was discussing the fact that the Oakland As and the San Francisco Giants were playing each other in the World Series that day. The quote from his column read: "... these are two teams from California and God only knows if they'll even get all the games in. An earthquake could rip through the Bay Area before they sing the national anthem for Game 3," - which was precisely when the quake occurred.


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