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Hearts of L.A. / How the Quake Rocked Our Spirits and Changed Our Lives : E-Mail From the Edge

January 30, 1994

In the hours before and after the quake, the information highway became a kind of electronic plaza in which old-fashioned news, anxiety and gossip were exchanged. Here is a sample of how the discussion proceeded.


"In the past three days, Santa Monica and Los Angeles have experienced a swarm of minor earthquakes. I think we're in for a sizable one, if not the Big One. I'm not a seismologist, but I don't buy the 'Small quakes relieve the pressure' theory of earthquake think. Get your water and pocket radios ready."

Calvin Ogawa

12:52 a.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 12


"I am a seismologist (well, not really, but an earthquake geologist) and small quakes do relieve stress. Although big earthquakes may follow small ones, most small earthquakes do not proceed large ones. Don't stress out."

Judy Zachariesen, Caltech

2 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 12


"Looks like Cal was right. Hope all are OK."

Paul Brandt

5:23 a.m.

Monday, Jan. 17


"I'm worried about my grandmother. She lives on California Avenue in Santa Monica, five blocks from the ocean."

Joan Leib

1:33 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 17


"About your grandmother in Santa Monica, some friends who live near her are OK. Depends on what type of building she's in. I'll be glad to call her for you. E-Mail me with her number and yours if you want."


10:42 a.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 19


"Given the way things are in Los Angeles, we could just leave this message group intact until the next earthquake. By the way, Caltech says this isn't anywhere near what the Big One would be like."

Robert L. MacMillan

6:11 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 17


"It takes a strong stomach and a love of adventure to live here. As someone said on the TV news earlier today, 'The weather here isn't as good as I thought it was.' "

Davis Sternlight

6:25 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 17


"Does anyone know what's up in Santa Clarita? I have family out there and have not been able to get a hold of them."

Jeffrey Nodland

11:15 a.m.

Monday, Jan 17


"I work in Valencia and finally got up there today. That whole Valley is a mess. I have not heard of any deaths from that area, so your family is probably all right."

Greg Linholm

11:59 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 19


"I still haven't heard anything from my son and his fiancee. They are in Chatsworth."

Mark Jaffe

2:54 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 17


"Your son and his fiancee are very, very nervous but fine. They have no water, no power and no gas. He begged that you call his grandparents and her parents."

Linday Robeck

4:17 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 18


"What is going to happen to this people that has no place to live?"

Perla Alegria, Portugal

12:16 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 18


"People whose homes have been damaged or destroyed are put up in schools, Salvation Army and Red Cross buildings. We try as much as possible to make sure they are comfortable and they are well fed. Pity it always takes some sort of disaster to bring people together."

John Sheridan

6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 18


"I'm a trained disaster worker, and I know about not calling into a disaster area. I learned, however, that when it's your 80-year-old father and 72-year-old mother who are at the epicenter, all that is ignored and you call anyway."

Chuck Linsley

1:05 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 19


"Has anyone heard from Laguna Beach? My uncle and his family live there. I'm from Canada and have no experience with earthquakes. God be with those in L.A."

Kerry Williams

1:22 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 17


"My family lives in Laguna Beach. Some shaking, but all is well."

Chris Barrus

11:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 18


"Was the UCLA campus affected by the quake?"

Arun, University of Florida

3:02 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 17


"Today's UCLA Daily Bruin says several buildings suffered minor damages. School is closed. Students seem to be very calm."

Hua Yang, UCLA

6:15 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 19


"So you had a Daily Bruin on the 18th? The Daily Trojan skipped that day, unlike a real newspaper that would never let a disaster get in the way of publication."

Susan Biddlecomb, USC

3:32 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 19


"I've heard that one of the deaths was a person who fell from a sixth-floor window at a downtown hotel. My best friend is staying on the sixth floor of a downtown hotel and would have been up about 4:30 a.m. I'd appreciate it if anyone's heard this name and can pass it on."

Forrest Gotshalk

5:16 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 17


"Today's Times reports his name as Jose Hernandez. They don't know if he leaped or fell."

Linda Robeck

10:52 a.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 18


"Does anyone know the current status of USC? Everyone OK? Any damage to buildings?"

Richard Miller

6:30 a.m.

Monday, Jan. 17


"USC is alive and well. We survived with minimal damage. Fight on."

Peter Pan

2:55 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 20


"I am in Burbank and the quake was quite violent here. Long distance phone lines have been down. But the local netcom number has gone back on-line and I have been able to E-mail my family to let them know I'm OK. As a new Internet user, I'm damned impressed."

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