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Nov 25th
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The Track of the Quake: Loma Prieta Turns 20

cover04goodtimes-sAn Evening of Commemoration and Reflection

Where were YOU at 5:04?

At 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989 the Loma Prieta Earthquake ripped through the forested canyon of Aptos Creek, snapping trees, throwing boulders and opening fissures across the landscape.  This wasn’t the first time the Aptos canyon had been torn loose by an earthquake.  On April 18, 1906, the north side of the canyon wall collapsed, hurling trees down the mountainside and blocking the creek for weeks. 1906 and then 1989.  Have we learned anything?  Did the 1989 earthquake modify our behavior in any significant way?   Do you do anything differently because of that earthquake?  Are we any closer to being able to predict earthquakes here in California?  And what about the scars scratched into our psyches?  Have they healed?  From this lofty perspective 20 years later, knowing what you know now, would you have done anything differently before Oct. 17, 1989?  And after?  See all Loma Prieta earthquake articles in the Santa Cruz History section >

Have we learned anything?  This event hopes to answer that question, covering such topics, from the scientific to the most personal with photographs, rare video, cutting edge work being done on earthquake prediction and a gathering of survivors. Presenters Include:


Sandy Lydon Coordinator and Master of Ceremonies.  Historian Emeritus, Cabrillo College. A historian with a special interest in the Forest of Nisene Marks, Lydon was one of the first people to visit the earthquake’s epicenter deep inside the forest.  He has written widely on the subject of the region’s earthquake history, and has visited the site of the largest modern natural disaster, the Great Tangshan Earthquake in China that killed an estimated 400,000 people on July 28, 1976.  He makes an annual personal pilgrimage to the Loma Prieta epicenter every year in October.  His home is 1.8 miles southwest of the earthquake’s epicenter.

Gary Griggs Professor of Earth and Planetary Science, Director of the Institute of Marine Science, University of California at Santa Cruz—Griggs has written and spoken widely on the geology and seismology of Central California and co-lead with Lydon a trip to Tangshan, China.  Lydon and Griggs bring a unique style to their presentations, and together they will provide some unusual perspectives on the earthquake.  Lydon and Griggs led an expedition to the 1989 epicenter area on the 15th anniversary and plan to do so again on the 20th.

Robley Levy  Past Santa Cruz County Supervisor, Second District—Levy was on the Board of Supervisors representing the Epicenter District (2nd district) on Oct. 17, 1989.  She will share her observations about the governmental response to the earthquake—including FEMA—and also give some insights about how well the county was prepared in 1989 and how it might be prepared today.

QuakeFinder, Inc. A representative from QuakeFinder, Inc., a private company based in Palo Alto currently working on short-term earthquake forecasting will make a presentation of their cutting-edge research.  QuakeFinder is monitoring Ultra Low Frequency magnetic radiation as well as infrared luminescence, and in several instances have found correlations between them and subsequence earthquakes.  They use both ground-based instrumentation as well as satellite monitors (satellites that they placed in orbit independently). QuakeFinder recently placed an electromagnetic monitoring station on the east side of the Pajaro Valley, very near the San Andreas Fault.

Other Special Guests and Loma Prieta survivors Lydon and Griggs will be joined by some surprise guests and speakers, and they would encourage anyone with stories to tell about their experiences of the ’89 earthquake in and around Aptos to contact them.

INFO: 7-10 p.m. Friday, Oct.16, 2009, Cabrillo College, Erica Schilling Forum, Room 450, Aptos. Tickets: $25 prior to the event:  $30 at the door. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.
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