The first shaking from the 6.7-magnitude Northridge Earthquake began at 4:31 a.m. on Monday, January 17, 1994. From its epicenter in the west San Fernando Valley, the earthquake produced 10 to 20 seconds of shaking that rattled a widespread part of Southern California.
The devastation was due largely to its location in one of the United States' most densely built-up metropolises. Fifty-seven people died. More than 9,000 people were injured and 20,000 were displaced in a natural disaster that caused an estimated $20 billion in damage. The destruction included collapsed buildings and freeway overpasses, snapped water and gas lines, rampant fires and landslides.
The timeline above provides a glimpse of how events unfolded in the hours, days and months after the quake.
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Click here for USGS' earthquake handbook "Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country."