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1994 Northridge Earthquake

Quick Facts

  • Date: January, 17th 1994, 4:30:55 AM (Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday)
  • Deaths: 33 directly; 34 indirectly
  • Magnitude: 6.7
  • Epicenter: 34° 12.80' N, 118° 32.22'W
  • Fault: Northridge/Pico Thrust
  • Type: Blind Thrust
  • Depth: 18.4 km


The 1994 Northridge Earthqake occured on a then unknown fault. Even though it was a relatively moderate quake, it became the most costly in U.S. history ($40 billion in damage). Occuring the northwestern region of Los Angeles called Northridge, it destroyed the Interstate 5/SR-14 interchange, killing a CHP officer on his way to work and crushed the Interstate 10 Fairfax Avenue overpass downtown. Towards the epicenter, the part of Northridge Meadows Apartments had collapsed. The first floor had been completed flattened, and in its place was now the former second floor of the three-story complex. At Cal State Northridge, one of its new parking structures had almost complete collapsed in. It was much worse at the Northridge Fashion Plaza, where a parking structure had collapsed, trapping a worker (who was freed after several grueling hours), and the Bullock's facade had completed collapsed. Many other buildings were also damaged, including Los Angeles City Hall (eventually going through a long and expensive seismic retrofit) and Pasadena City Hall had its bell tower slightly damaged (now they make you sign a waiver before going up).

The quake's timing during a holiday weekend was a definite benefit as many more could have been killed on the commute to work, but instead they were sleeping in.

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