Great California Shakeout on 30th Anniversary of Massive Loma Prieta Quake

October 15, 2019

Millions of Californians are expected to practice how to dropping, covering and holding on when the ground shakes during the Great California ShakeOut on Thursday at 10:17 a.m.

The annual earthquake drill will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that shook Northern California on Oct. 17, 1989.

Also known as the “World Series earthquake,” the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake was felt extensively in Santa Cruz, Monterey and the San Francisco Bay Area. It was responsible for 63 deaths, 3,757 injuries, and more than $5.9 billion in property damage.

Strong ground shaking, liquefaction, and landslides caused significant structural damage, rendering 16,000 housing units uninhabitable.

The California Earthquake Authority, a not-for-profit, privately funded, publicly managed organization that provides residential earthquake insurance, helps organized the annual ShakeOut event. The annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drills that originated in California have spread out across the country and worldwide on what is now considered International ShakeOut Day.

Millions participated in last year’s ShakeOut event.

“The Loma Prieta earthquake was a tragedy that caused immense suffering for thousands of California residents,” California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy said in a statement. “Anniversaries for big earthquakes often serve as painful reminders of why we need to know how to drop, cover, and hold on when the ground shakes, and know how to financially recover from damage that may be expensive to repair.”

In 2015, scientists reported there was a greater than 99% chance of one or more magnitude 6.7 earthquakes striking California between 2014 and 2043.

Magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes struck near the Mojave Desert town of Ridgecrest in July 2019, and a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Napa in 2014. CEA policy sales spiked after the Ridgecrest quake.

“More than 10 million Californians participated in the Great California ShakeOut last year,” Pomeroy said. “The drill is easy to do. It’s also easy to have a quick conversation with your insurance agent about how to get an earthquake policy. A little preparation can make a big difference if California’s next big earthquake strikes closer to home.”

More information about the Great California ShakeOut and other ways to prepare for earthquakes can be found at


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