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1971 Sylmar/San Fernando Earthquake

Quick Facts

  • Date: February 9, 1971, 6:01 AM
  • Casualties: 65
  • Epicenter: 34° 24.67' N, 118° 24.04'W
  • Magnitude: 6.6
  • Fault: San Fernando Fault
  • Type: Thrust
  • Depth: 8.4 km


The Sylmar/San Fernando Earthquake caused the earth to move 2 feet. It was fortunate that it occured just before the main bulk of Los Angeles rush hour traffic. It caused 65 deaths, and $500 million in damage. Many of the destroyed buildings were hospitals (Most of the casualties resulted from the collpse of the Veteran's Administration Hospital) and recently finished freeway interchanges.

The destruction of the quake lead to the Alquist Priolo Special Studies Zone Act in 1972 which toughened the California building codes and forbid (most) structures designed for human occupancy to be built on active fault zones.

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