In the early morning hours of Jan. 17, 1994, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Southern California in what is now considered one of the most devastating natural disasters in US history.
The epicenter of the 1994 Northridge earthquake was the Los Angeles neighborhood of Reseda — a densely populated area of highways, businesses, and residential properties. For nearly 20 seconds the ground swayed violently, causing widespread panic as buildings and roadways crumbled under the seismic force, leaving 57 people dead and nearly 9,000 others injured. Of the most striking images in the quake’s aftermath, the collapse of the Antelope Valley Freeway captured the sheer force of the seismic event.
In the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, many changes were implemented in preparation for future earthquakes. Legislation was passed to reinforce freeway bridges, and building codes were adapted to help ensure the region is better prepared for another major seismic event. While last week’s Ridgecrest earthquake was graded at a stronger 7.1 magnitude, the epicenter was considerably further from populated areas than the 1994 Northridge quake. Still, the knowledge gained from studying the 1994 Northridge earthquake continues to play a vital role in helping us prepare for the worst.
These pictures capture the events of the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Southern California.