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Landers Rupture — Where they were

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Detailed Description

USGS scientists remember where they were during the 1992 Landers earthquake in Southern California




Public Domain.


I was at my parents’ house in Rialto with my family the earthquake hit I called my boss he said well you better roll out better go home so we packed everything up and our little Nissan 200SX and rolled home. About halfway home is when the Big Bear event hit. We looked up and we could see the avalanches on the mountains, the rock fall occurring, and was like, wow, another earthquake is happening.

So I was home; I had been in New York the week before for a student exam so I just started with the USGS in Pasadena in March of 1992 and I was still on a student committee so I went to New York. I came back on Saturday June 27th and I was sound asleep at 4:57 in the morning and I felt it. You know I didn't have to find out about it through any any complicated channels. It definitely woke me up.

I was working in Golden at the time and I was working on the Yucca mountain project with earthquake monitoring around Yucca mountain, so I had really soon after the Landers earthquake within hours there was a magnitude 5.4 earthquake right near Yucca mountain.

So we were really getting news in by dribs and drabs because you have to remember this is before you know the days of websites with tons of earthquake information on them.

I was in my first year as a postdoc at the USGS in Menlo Park. It was a bit of a surprise to have an earthquake that big there.

I was here in Tucson, and we got a phone call from a non-geologist, my wife sister who lived then in the downtown LA. She said, boy this place is shaking pretty good! And so we, you know,  turned on CNN or whatever at the time. We paid attention to the news and found out there had been this large earthquake in the desert of Southern California and lo and behold it turned out to be Landers.

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