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#204831 - 07/17/10 04:06 AM Vintage documentary of '71 San Fernando quake
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1917
Loc: Washington, DC
Among my earliest and enduring memories is waking up at 6:00a when the Los Angeles area was shaken by the 1971 San Fernando (aka Sylmar) quake. That was 6.6 and memorable. This 1973 USDA documentary that was done on the quake is interesting (replete with Dragnet-style narration and period-appropriate TV drama background music). I remember the smashed pickup truck -- wrong place, wrong time (under an overpass). It was a scary, searing image to me back then.

This documentary was produced by the USDA so the government is portrayed as right on top of everything and much of it is obviously reenactment. Governor Reagan and Vice President Agnew appear. Agnew comments that President Nixon had been a student at Whittier when the 1933 Long Beach quake struck.

The rudimentary technology is striking, of course. But some things don't change -- the epicenter was hampered by lack of communication and loss of basic services. Not sure it would be a whole lot better today since cell phones would probably be clogged. Is water, sewer and other infrastructure much more resilient nowadays?

How well would cable Internet fare in such a quake? Would cable be any more or less vulnerable than DSL?

http://www.archive.org/details/Earthqua1973


Contemporaneous news articles:

http://www.lafire.com/famous_fires/710209_SylmarEarthquake/020971_LAHerald_KillerQuake.htm

HUNDREDS FLEE HOMES AS
DAM BREAK IS THREATENED

Hundreds of Mission Hills residents fled their homes today under order of authorities when vertical cracks appeared in the 51-year-old lower Van Norman Dam.

Many loaded valuables in family autos, but scores were evacuated in hurriedly impressed school buses in the suburb below Van Norman Dam where homes run from $30,000 upward.

The dam holds back more than 6 billion gallons of water and is the largest in the city's water system.

Lawmen equipped with bullhorns ordered evacuation from helicopters and patrol cars cruising over and in the exclusive developments there. All residents from the 80-square-mile area were ordered out of their homes or suffer arrest.

Van Norman Dam is located on a rise well above most homes in the area.

Robert E. Noel, resident dam custodian, said concrete facing collapsed along two-thirds of the dam's 1100-foot structure but earth fill behind it held although some leakage was reported.


Here's an interesting series of maps of major California earthquakes from 1857 to the Loma Prieta quake of 1989.

http://geology.com/earthquake/california.shtml





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#204832 - 07/17/10 04:57 AM Re: Vintage documentary of '71 San Fernando quake [Re: Dagny]
Richlacal Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 778
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Like Jim Morrison sang,"Shattering a child's,Fragile egg-shell mind"!That was an Unforgettable Moment,For Sure!The 4-story Sylmar Hospital was reduced to Rubble!A Duplex aprox.300 yds, from my home,Blew up from Natural Gas lines,when the series of Strong aftershocks,hit about 6:20am!The '94 Northridge Quake was even Stronger,My driveway still shows the results from that one!

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#204860 - 07/17/10 11:48 PM Re: Vintage documentary of '71 San Fernando quake [Re: Richlacal]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I think that was the only time that I woke up AFTER getting out of bed (rapidly).

It really impressed the people on the freeway, esp after hearing about freeway cracks and the overpass collapsing. I was going about 35 mph on the 210 freeway, and NO ONE was passing me. With the curves and the undulations in that section, no one was tempted to put their foot down without knowing what they were driving into.

Sue

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#204880 - 07/18/10 06:16 PM Re: Vintage documentary of '71 San Fernando quake [Re: Susan]
rebwa Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
Thanks for sharing Dagny. Very eye-opening footage!

I would guess that some modern infrastructure is better equipped to handle a major earthquake today, but often times when the older or weakest link fails you still have failure. Maybe faster to repair if only a portion.

The 6.8 Nisqually Earthquake damaged one of the two bridges connecting Olympia to west Olympia beyond repair and the damaged bridge was also the older bridge. The legislative building also had significant damage and was closed for a couple of years for repairs.

The epicenter was 17 miles from me and I had some stirred up water coming up from my well for several days and my well’s 120 feet deep. Several of my neighbors experienced the same.

I was home at the time and right before it hit a couple of my mares were laying down in the pasture, while not uncommon especially in the nice weather, a little weird in the middle of winter. I was concerned enough about a possible colic that I had went out and checked them. Got back to the house and the quake hit. A friend with horses told me that she had experienced the same with her horses.

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