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20 Years Ago Today, the Northridge Earthquake Rocked L.A.

Sixty people died and thousands were left homeless in one of the most deadly earthquakes in American history

At 4:31 am on Monday, January 17, 1994, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit Los Angeles, California. Centered on the Northridge neighborhood, the earthquake caused massive damage, killing 60 people, injuring 7000 and rendering tens of thousands homeless as buildings and infrastructure were torn down by shaking and fire, says the USGS.

The Northridge earthquake was one of the deadliest in the country, and, at the time, was the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history, with damage in the range of 13 to 20 billion dollars.

In the documentary above, Earthquake in L.A., archival news footage and interviews explore the causes and consequences of the earthquake.

According to the Los Angeles Times, new construction techniques have done much to prepare the city for the next big tremor—which could come at any time:

Though the 6.7 Northridge earthquake killed about 60 people and caused billions of dollars in damage, experts warn that the region is overdue for a much larger temblor. A 7.8 or larger earthquake along the southern end of the San Andreas fault that has long been predicted would be exponentially more powerful and destructive over a much larger area.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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