The 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, California

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Science  18 Mar 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4846, pp. 1409-1412
DOI: 10.1126/science.239.4846.1409


The Whittier Narrows earthquake sequence (local magnitude, ML = 5.9), which caused over $358-million damage, indicates that assessments of earthquake hazards in the Los Angeles metropolitan area may be underestimated. The sequence ruptured a previously unidentified thrust fault that may be part of a large system of thrust faults that extends across the entire east-west length of the northern margin of the Los Angeles basin. Peak horizontal accelerations from the main shock, which were measured at ground level and in structures, were as high as 0.6g (where g is the acceleration of gravity at sea level) within 50 kilometers of the epicenter. The distribution of the modified Mercalli intensity VII reflects a broad north-south elongated zone of damage that is approximately centered on the main shock epicenter.

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