Earthquake Case Studies

Case Studies for Northridge, 1994, and, Kashmir, 2005

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  • Created on: 12-02-14 09:17
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Earthquake Case Studies
Northridge earthquake, USA, January1994
The Nature of the Seismic Hazard
Date 17 January 1994
Origin 04:31 PST
Lat/Lon 34.213°North /
Depth 17 km
Magnit 6.7 Mw
Locality 20 miles NW of Los
Angeles in the city of
Northridge is a highly diverse, affluent, welleducated neighbourhood of Los Angeles, California in the
San Fernando Valley.
The Northridge occurred on January 17, 1994, at 04:31 PST in Northridge, a neighbourhood in Los
Angeles, California, lasting for about 10­20 seconds. The earthquake had a magnitude (Mw) of 6.7,
but the ground acceleration was one of the highest ever instrumentally recorded in an urban area in
North America, measuring 16.7 m/s2 with strong ground motion felt as far away as Las Vegas,
Nevada, about 360 km from the epicentre. In addition, two 6.0 Mw aftershocks occurred. The first
about 1 minute after the initial event and the second approximately 11 hours later, the strongest of
several thousand aftershocks in all. Although several commercial buildings also collapsed, loss of life
was minimized because of the early morning hour of the quake, and because it also occurred on a
federal holiday (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). Also, because of known seismic activity in California,
area building codes dictate that buildings incorporate structural design intended to withstand
The earthquake struck in the San Fernando Valley about 20 miles (31 km) northwest of downtown
Los Angeles. Although given the name "Northridge", the epicentre was located in the community of
Reseda it took several days to pinpoint the epicentre in detail.
The National Geophysical Data Centre placed the epicentre at a depth of 17 km. Despite the area's
proximity to the San Andreas Fault, the Northridge earthquake did not occur along this fault, but
rather on the previously undiscovered Northridge blind thrust fault (Pico thrust fault).
The Impact of the Event
Primary Impacts
Ground shaking that lasted approximately 1020 seconds
Secondary Impacts

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Earthquake Case Studies
Damage occurred up to 125 km with most of the damage occurring in the west of the San
Fernando Valley, and the cities of Santa Monica, Simi Valley and Santa Clarita.
An estimated 57 people were killed, at least 33 were confirmed dead almost immediately after
the earthquake. 16 were killed when the Northridge Meadows apartment complex collapsed.
There were 8,700 injuries in total (1,600 required hospitalisation) caused by the earthquake
throughout the San Fernando Valley.…read more

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Earthquake Case Studies
The Northridge earthquake led to a number of legislative changes. Due to the large amount lost by
insurance companies because of the earthquake, most insurance companies either stopped offering
or severely restricted earthquake insurance in California. In response, the California Legislature
created the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), which is a publicly managed but privately funded
organization that offers minimal coverage.…read more

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Earthquake Case Studies
about 65 km northnorthwest of Muzaffarabad. As of 27 October 2005 there have been more than 978
aftershocks with a magnitude of 4.0 and above that continued to occur daily.
The people who were mainly affected lived in the mountainous regions of Pakistan being killed by
landslides and other hazardous material falling down
The Impact of the Event
Primary Impacts
Ground shaking that lasted for approximately 30 seconds.…read more

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Earthquake Case Studies
The early days of the disaster response were marked by uncoordinated efforts among a whole host of
organizations involved in relief work. There was little information on who was doing what and little
oversight. A coordinating structure was later created by the government under the Federal Relief
Commission (FRC) and the ERRA (Earthquake Relief and Rehabilitation Authority) to coordinate
activities with other international agencies and NGOs. According to the World Bank, the relief work
will cost $2 billion.…read more


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