‘Twelve guests, all definitely awake. A couple in from Holland, definitely shocked. A couple in from the U.K. asked me, “Is this normal?” ’

Night manager, Joshua Tree Inn

       THE QUAKE jolted gamblers out of bed in Las Vegas and shook buildings as far away as Phoenix. Up to 90,000 utility customers lost power, mobile homes were knocked off pilings in the desert community of Ludlow and a highway bridge was cracked.
       But the 2:46 a.m. earthquake caused little more than incidental damage in the huge population centers to the west and south.
       “Did you ever play a pinball machine and see the ball get stuck in there and go bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam? It just threw my body back and forth as I ran down the hallway,” Dick Dale said from his home 30 miles from the epicenter.
       Amtrak’s Southwest Chief en route from Chicago to Los Angeles derailed in the Mojave Desert near Ludlow, more than 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The passenger cars remained upright.
       Four of the 155 passengers on the 25-car train suffered minor injuries. Twenty-one cars jumped the tracks.
       “I was sleeping. It felt like the train jumped off the track ... and I fell out of bed,” said passenger Colleen Broome, who suffered a separated shoulder.

Report from NBC affiliate KNSD in San Diego

       “Our saving grace was, we were following a freight train,” said Glenn Morton, the train’s conductor. “We were going 60 mph instead of the 80 mph we normally would do through here.”
       All the homes in a Ludlow mobile home park were shoved off their foundations.
       “Everybody was running out. The dogs were howling. The cats were hiding. And the kids were freaking,” said Barbara Houseworth, 19, who fled her trailer with her 3-year-old child. “When mobile homes rock, they really rock.”
       The quake was centered 32 miles north of Joshua Tree, 100 miles east of Los Angeles, according to the California Institute of Technology. Aftershocks rolled through the region for hours, including a 5.8 and a 5.3 among more than a dozen of magnitude-4 or greater.
       I wasn’t sure what it was,” said John Fabian, who was staying on the 18th floor of the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, 150 miles from the epicenter. “My wife hit me and said we’ve got to get ... out of here.”
       Fabian’s wife, Michele, added: “The whole place was shaking like crazy.”
       Authorities in Las Vegas and Los Angeles said there were no reports of serious damage or injuries. Authorities received a few calls from frightened people who were curious about damage.
       “It shook everything pretty good, but that was about it,” said Lt. Rich Paddock of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
       The effects of the earthquake were more pronounced near the epicenter.
       California Highway Patrol dispatcher Joe Serrano in Barstow said a bridge on Interstate 40 was heavily damaged but the freeway remained open.

fault lines to seismographs to damage estimations.

Sources: U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center, Federal Emergency Management Agency
"; ListItems = new Array("What are earthquakes?", "What is a fault?","What are the basic types of earthquakes?","Are earthquakes really on the increase?","What is the hypocenter?","What is the epicenter?","How many earthquakes are reported yearly?","Earthquake frequency worldwide:","What is the Richter Scale?","What is the Modified Mercalli Scale?","How can I prepare for an earthquake?","Damage of recent earthquakes in the U.S.:"); swaptext = new Array(); swaptext[0]="An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault and it occurs when plates grind and scrape against each other. Stresses in the earth's outer layer push the sides of the fault together. Stress builds up and the rocks slips suddenly, releasing energy in waves that travel through the rock to cause the shaking that we feel during an earthquake."; swaptext[1]="A fault is a thin zone of crushed rock between two blocks of rock, and can be any length, from centimeters to thousands of kilometers. It is a fracture in the crust of the earth along which rocks on one side have moved relative to those on the other side. Most faults are the result of repeated displacements over a long period of time."; swaptext[2]="The two basic types:

  • A strike-slip earthquake occurs on an approximately vertical fault plane as the rock on one side of the fault slides horizontally past the other.
  • In a dip-slip earthquake the fault is at an angle to the surface of the earth and the movement of the rock is up or down."; swaptext[3]="Not necessarily. Earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant throughout this century and according to records have actually seemed to decrease in recent years.
    In the last 20 years more earthquakes are noticed yearly because of the increase in the number of seismograph stations in the world and improved global communications. This increase has helped seismological centers to locate many small earthquakes which were undetected in earlier years.
    "; swaptext[4]="The hypocenter is the point where the earthquake rupture begins, usually deep down on the fault."; swaptext[5]="The epicenter is the point on the surface directly above the hypocenter."; swaptext[6]="The National Earthquake Information Center now locates about 12,000 to 14,000 earthquakes worldwide each year, or 35 a day on average."; swaptext[7]="
    Frequency of Earthquakes Worldwide
    DescriptionMagnitudeAnnual Average
    Great8 or higher1
    Major 7 - 7.918
    Strong6 - 6.9120
    Moderate5 - 5.9800
    Light4 - 4.96,200
    Minor3 - 3.949,000
    Very Minor1 - 39,000 (daily)

    swaptext[8]="The Richter Scale is used to measure the magnitude of earthquakes, as determined by seismograph measurements of the height of ground oscillations during an earthquake.
    Because the scale is based on a logarithm, every whole-number step in the scale represents about 31 times more energy than the amount represented by the preceding whole number value. The Richter scale has no upper limit; the largest known earthquakes have magnitudes in the 8.8 to 8.9 range.
    "; swaptext[9]="The Modified Mercalli Scale measures the intensity of an earthquake; in other words, the effect of the earthquake on the Earth's surface. This scale is composed of 12 increasing levels of intensity that range from imperceptible shaking to catastrophic destruction, and is designated by Roman numerals. The scale does not have a mathematical basis; instead it is an arbitrary ranking based on observed effects."; swaptext[10]="

  • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
  • Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
  • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves."; swaptext[11]="Northridge, California (20 miles from Los Angeles)
  • January 17, 1994 at 4:31 a.m.
  • Magnitude: 6.7
  • Deaths: 57
  • Injuries: 9,000
  • Property Damage: $15 billion

    Loma Prieta Earthquake (south of San Francisco)
  • October 17, 1989 at 5:04 p.m.
  • Magnitude: 7.1
  • Deaths: 62
  • Injuries: 3,757
  • Property Damage: More than $6 billion"; //-->        But even at the Joshua Tree >Inn, there was just a power outage — no sign of >damage, said Jacob Naylor, the night manager.
      >     “Twelve guests, all definitely >awake. A couple in from Holland, definitely shocked. A >couple in from the U.K. asked me, ‘Is this >normal?”’ Naylor said. “They’re all >taking it rather well, kind of excited. Vacationers, new >experiences, what can I say?”
        >   Gerri Hagman, owner of the Homestead Inn in >Twentynine Palms, near the epicenter, said she had a lot of >broken dishes and things thrown off shelves, but >couldn’t see any structural damage.
        >   “I’m a native Californian and >I’ve been in a lot of them; this was a >whopper,” Ms. Hagman said.

           A Twentynine Palms supermarket had structural and water damage, a tree fell on a trailer home and there were several natural gas leaks, said Fire Chief Wayne Eder.
           Water and gas lines also broke at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, but no injuries or major damage were reported, said Gunnery Sgt. Leah Gonzalez.
           On Jan. 17, 1994, a 6.7-magnitude quake struck the Northridge area of Los Angeles, killing 72 people and causing an estimated $40 billion in damage.
           “The level of shaking is comparable to what was experienced in Northridge,” said Lucy Jones, a seismologist with U.S. Geological Survey at Caltech. “The good news is that there are fewer people out there.”

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