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October 1, 1987 - The Quake That Struck Where Nixon Grew Up

Thursday, October 1st 2020, 6:00 am - On Oct. 1, 1987 at 7:42 a.m., a 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Whittier, Calif. and the surrounding area for a full 30 seconds. It was the strongest since the 1971 San Fernando earthquake.

Oct. 1 earthquake On Oct. 1, 1987, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Whittier and the surrounding area for a full 30 seconds. It was the strongest since the San Fernando earthquake in 1971. Photo: Whittier Museum.

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Whittier is a small town located in southern California, south of the City of Angels (Los Angeles), renowned for being former U.S. president Richard Nixon’s hometown.

On Oct. 1, 1987 at 7:42 a.m., a 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Whittier and the surrounding area for a full 30 seconds. It was the strongest since the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, with shaking felt as far away as San Diego and Las Vegas. The tremor violently shook people from their beds and caused anything loose to fly across rooms and crash to the floor in homes throughout the area.

That wasn't the end of it -- there was a series of aftershocks that continued to startle and frighten southern California for days after the initial earthquake. As a result, hundreds of residents were reluctant to return to their homes, opting to camp out in public parks instead.

While total casualties amounted to eight, the destruction of homes was significant. Throughout Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura counties, 123 homes and 1,347 apartments were destroyed and an additional 513 homes and 2,040 apartments were damaged. It is estimated that the Whittier earthquake caused US$100 million in damages.

On today's podcast, Chris Mei discusses the power of the 6.1-magnitude earthquake, the resulting aftershocks and the aftermath that followed.

"This Day In Weather History” is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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