Saturday, March 5, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy History - 1971 Earthquake

1971 Sylmar, California Earthquake
Week 10:  Disasters.  Did you experience any natural disasters in your lifetime?  Tell us about them.  If not, then discuss these events that happened to parents, grandparents or others in your family.

It was February 9, 1971. We lived in Lakewood California on Clark Street.  Hubs and I had just gotten up to begin our day. He worked in Los Angeles and had to travel 25 miles to work.  We had 3 little ones at home....a 5 year old, a 2 1/2 year old, and a 15 month old.

It was about 6AM - I was sitting on the living room calming down one of the little ones (who maybe suspected something was about to happen?), hubs was getting dressed, when all of a sudden a roar, a boom, a shake that seemed to shake the world.  Having been born and raised in southern California I was more or less not surprised...I knew immediately it was an earthquake.  This one was larger than most, it still shook hard enough to waken the others and get them crying. 

We'd learned over the years that where you live is not necessarily the center of the earthquake.  This felt strong to us but what about others?  What did it feel like where it was centered?  Or were we in the epicenter of the earthquake?  We immediately turned on the TV but most of the TV stations were down and there was not much news on what had just happened.

The center of the quake turned out to be in Sylmar - about 35 miles from us.  The quake registered 6.6 on the Richter Scale.  We were fortunate - none of us were hurt, no real damage - just shattered nerves, a few things knocked off the shelves, and pictures sent askew.   Others were not so blessed - 65 people died, 100's injured, two hospitals sustained major damage, and there was also major damage to two freeway interchanges.  There were a minimum of 5 aftershocks (mini?-earthquakes).  I question my use of the word 'mini' because any earthquake with a magnitude of 5 can and has caused damage.

Mary Post Warren
© copyright 2011, all rights reserved, Mary Post Warren


  1. My parents lived in an apartment in Long Beach. My mom remembers water sloshing out of the pool.

    Thank you for participating in this week's prompt.

  2. I can't imagine getting used to it. We felt one just once in Wisconsin a few years back. It was so slight we barely knew it was anything. nothing to be a disaster, just unusual.