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MEDC Los Angeles Earthquake CASE STUDY
The Northridge earthquake occurred on January 17, 1994 at 4:31 AM The earthquake had a
"strong" moment magnitude of 6.7, but the ground acceleration was one of the highest ever
instrumentally recorded in an urban area in North America.
Seventy-two deaths were attributed to the earthquake,
with over 9,000 injured.
In addition, the earthquake caused an estimated $20 billion in damage, making it one of the
costliest natural disasters in U.S. history
It occurred on a blind thrust fault, close to the San Andreas Fault. A blind thrust fault is a fault which
does not extend to the surface.
The focus of the earthquake was a depth of 18.4 km. The ground acceleration which is the
measurement of ground shaking was the highest ever instrumentally recorded in a North American
The actual epicenter of the quake was in Reseda, near the intersection of Reseda Blvd. and Saticoy St.
However, it took several days to pinpoint the epicenter with accuracy, and in the meantime the
media had already dubbed it "The Northridge Earthquake." The name stuck, in part due to the
extensive damage and loss of life in Northridge
During earthquakes the only primary effects are the actual shaking of the ground, this usually does
not lead to much death but the secondary effects do.
11 Damaged to Hospitals
Damage to water and electrical supplie cut off
11,000 landslide were triggered
20,000 people made homeless
57 people killed 1500 injured
All of these led to more injuries occurring.
The City of Los Angeles chose to address the issue of collection and processing of earthquake debris
through private contractors. The City determined that it was most effective to use the existing
expertise of established businesses in the area to address debris collection and processing. The
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Overview: The City of Los Angeles developed a Demolition and Debris Removal Program to handle
the debris generated from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The purpose of the program was to
collect residence curbside earthquake debris, and demolish 400+ damaged buildings.
The City collected 2,880,000 tons, and recycled 1,629,800 tons for a 56.5% recycling rate. The City
saved approximately 6,350,000 cubic yards of landfill space through its recycling and demolition
programs (1,629,800 tons).
Reimbursement: The City explored reimbursement for landfill space replacement costs.…read more