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Published February 1, 1997 | public
Journal Article Open

Enduring Lessons and Opportunities Lost from the San Fernando Earthquake of February 9, 1971


Twenty-five years have passed since the San Fernando earthquake of February 9, 1971. The paper reviews the lessons learned and not learned from this notable event. Most of the major lessons were reported within a few weeks of the earthquake by a panel appointed by the National Academies of Sciences and of Engineering. In this paper, the status of each of the eighteen general lessons cited by the panel is reviewed, plus two additional lessons selected from other studies of the earthquake. The lessons learned ranged broadly and concerned measures needed to reduce future earthquake hazards, as well as recommended scientific and engineering efforts. Although all of the lessons learned were not heeded, the San Fernando earthquake represented a turning point in public awareness and in actions taken to reduce earthquake hazard. Recent earthquakes have shown, however, that much remains to be done.

Additional Information

©1997 Earthquake Spectra. See Also: Discussion of "Enduring Lessons and Opportunities Lost from the San Fernando Earthquake of February 9, 1971" by Paul C. Jennings, Bruce A. Bolt,Earthquake Spectra 13, 545 (1997).


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