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'71 Valley Quake a Brush With Catastrophe : Related Earthquakes

February 04, 1996|KENNETH REICH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN FERNANDO — Earthquake scientists acknowledge they do not completely understand how, but they believe that in some way the 1971 Sylmar-San Fernando earthquake triggered the Northridge earthquake 23 years later. The aftershock zones of the two quakes overlap. Unlike Northridge, the San Fernando quake had a surface rupture, and unlike Northridge it was centered in the mountains rather than beneath the Valley floor.

SAN FERNANDO (1971)

Magnitude: 6.7

Deaths: 64

Injuries: 2,543

Damage: $553 million

Damaged Buildings: 23,336

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NORTHRIDGE (1994)

Magnitude: 6.7

Deaths: 72

Injuries: 11,846

Damage: $25 billion

Damaged Buildings: 114,039

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