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The Last Big One
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The Last Big One:  Accounts from 1857

    Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles Star,  January 10, 1857
  • Yesterday morning, about half-past eight o'clock, a very severe shock of an earthquake was felt here, the vibrations continuing for fully two minutes....  Several houses were slightly cracked ... but no material damage was sustained.  Doors were slammed to and fro, water was turned out of bowls and pitchers, and in the river the water rushed violently to one bank and then back again, the motion being repeated several times.  In some places the earth is represented as having undulated as a field of wheat moved by the wind.  It caused a general turn out, some rushing from their beds without stopping to dress.

    Click on a location below to view more first-hand accounts of the 1857 earthquake.

    Carrizo Plain
    near Fort Tejon
    Southern San Joaquin Valley
    Santa Barbara
    Los Angeles
    San Bernardino

    For the original sources of these accounts, please click here.
    Several maps show the above locations.