Historic Earthquakes

North of Livermore Valley, California
1980 01 24 19:00:09.5 UTC
Magnitude 5.8
Intensity VII

This earthquake injured 44 people and caused an estimated $11.5 million in property damage (of which, $10 million damage occurred at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory at Livermore). The shock was associated with surface rupture along the Greenville fault. The rupture propagated more than 15 km to the southeast along the Marsh Creek-Greenville faults, ceasing in the area of Interstate Highway 580.

Most of the damage to property, including that at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, was nonstructural. It consisted mainly of fallen ceiling tiles, fallen bricks from chimneys, broken gas lines and water lines, broken windows, and displacement of mobile houses from supporting foundation. However, at the Ordway Ranch (on Vasco Road north of Livermore), a brick-and-stone fireplace was cracked and displaced from the wall, as was a smaller fireplace in another room. At Interstate 580 and Greenville Road (about 4 kilometers north of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory), pavement on the overpass settled about 30 centimeters and concrete on one abutment cracked and spalled.

Faulting was observed for a distance of about 6 kilometers along the Greenville fault, beginning near the overpass at Interstate Highway 580 and Greenville Road. Where the fault crosses Vasco Road, right-lateral offset was as much as 2 centimeters; on Laughlin Road and to the northwest for about 300 meters, right-lateral offset of 5 to 10 millemeters was observed. Felt over a large area of central California and at a few towns in western Nevada. A small foreshock occurred at 18 58 UTC on January 24, and a sequence of 59 aftershocks followed in the next six days. A second principal earthquake occurred on January 27.

Abridged from Seismicity of the United States, 1568-1989 (Revised), by Carl W. Stover and Jerry L. Coffman, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1527, United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1993.