Loma Prieta Earthquake Stories

Sitting at the control console for the 76” cyclotron at Crocker Nuclear Lab, UC Davis, I was just one hour into my 4PM to midnight shift. I was talking with one of the electricians when I started to feel queezy, sick to my stomach. I next noticed that the 4 clipboards hanging on the wall were beginning to swing back and forth. We had a small television tuned to a Sacramento station for the 5 o’clock news and the anchorman started yelling “earthquake!” and the lamps in the studio were going all over the place. We ran out to the “High Bay” area with it’s 45’ ceiling and saw the hook for the 30 ton bridge crane swinging wildly. Coffee was sloshing out of the coffee pots. The building felt like a ship in a storm, rising and falling as waves passed by. Completely different from the violent shaking reported in the Bay area. The effects seemed to last a long time and I distinctly remember feeling like time stood still. After things calmed down we were surpised to find there was no damage to the cyclotron, not even a loss of vacuum. Needless to say, we didn’t get much work done that night. When I got home (in Woodland) that evening I found that a significant amount of water had sloshed out of our pool.

Tom January 25, 2010

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The Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred on October 17, 1989, is the most recent large earthquake to strike the San Francisco Bay Area. Many individuals and families have stories and memories related to this damaging earthquake. To help us preserve these precious stories and learn more about the earthquake, please share your story and memories with us.

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