The impact of 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake -- 20 years later

April 09, 2009

Session: Advances in science, engineering, public policy and hazard mitigation as a result of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
Location: DeAnza Ballroom 1, Thursday, April 9, 2009, 1:30 p.m.

The Loma Prieta earthquake transformed the earthquake sciences and engineering and remains a major focus of study, some twenty years later. The 17 October 1989 magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake severely shook the San Francisco and Monterey Bay regions and initiated major changes in earthquake science and engineering, disaster response and public policy well beyond California.

The 1989 earthquake epicenter was located near Loma Prieta peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, approximately 14 km (9 mi) northeast of Santa Cruz and 96 km (60 mi) south-southeast of San Francisco, and it has had perhaps the most profound societal impact of any U.S. earthquake.

Direct observations and instrumental recordings of the earthquake and its damaging effects on the region's infrastructure have led to improved understanding in earthquake processes, including earthquake forecasting, fault interaction and how one large earthquake may trigger another, ground motions, site response, liquefaction and building response as well as significant improvements to building codes and design standards for lifelines. Major programs such as the Caltrans bridge seismic retrofit program, San Francisco's Building Occupancy Resumption Program (BORP), and the California Seismic Hazards Mapping Program came about because of the 1989 earthquake.

In this session, speakers from the public and private sectors will address the advances in science, engineering, public policy and hazard mitigation that resulted directly from the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Two talks provide broad overviews of the earthquake's legacies:Two talks address current initiatives:

Seismological Society of America

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