Anyone else here live through the 1971 San Fernando (Sylmar), California earthquake?
Last night I stumbled upon a YouTube vintage video of the aftermath and it conjured some memories. My family lived in Torrance at the time (I was 8 years old). I remember waking up when it hit at 6:00 a.m. and subsequent aftershocks that would send a swinging lamp in our living room swinging a lot more than it was ever intended to. I also remember the pickup truck flattened under the freeway overpass and a subsequent school field trip to a damaged mission.
Torrance was a ways from the epicenter and I don't remember any fear but it may have been the beginning of my flirting with a career as a geologist (a road I ultimately did not travel....)
I did not realize until Googling the quake today that if the damaged San Fernando dam had collapsed approximately 100,000 people could have perished. http://articles.latimes.com/1996-02-04/news/mn-32287_1_san-fernando-quake
"The 1,100-foot dam held 3.6 billion gallons of water on the morning of Feb. 9, 1971, but it was only half full; the water level was 36 feet below the lip.
"The top 30 feet of the edifice crumbled, leaving the water only six feet from the top and fresh chunks of earth falling off with each aftershock."
"...A year to the day before the quake, the dam held 6.5 billion gallons of water, and its level was eight to 10 feet higher than the level to which the top of the dam slumped in the quake. Engineers recognized that had such a vast quantity of water spilled over the top, the entire dam would have quickly been washed away."
"...Later, a UCLA study estimated that collapse of the dam would have brought flooding that could have killed between 71,600 and 123,400 people."
"...Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey commented, "San Fernando clearly nudged the Northridge plane toward having an earthquake. It didn't happen for 23 years, but it could have happened almost immediately as an aftershock.
"For some reason, Northridge wasn't quite ready to go, and we were fortunate it wasn't, because had Northridge occurred right away, then it's pretty clear we would have killed a lot more people."
Retrospective - 41 years later:http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/sylmar-earthquake-anniversary-dam-almost-collapse.html
"Quake damage also forced four freeways to be closed: Interstate 5, Highway 14, the 405 Freeway and the 210 Freeway."
Vintage video of the emergency response to the quake:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiabD0WBl7w