Until the Loma Prieta earthquake of 17 October 1989, also known as the “World Series earthquake” or the “San Francisco earthquake,” many of us may have considered earthquakes a remote danger. But instantaneous television transmission from the interrupted World Series game and frightening images of the collapsed Cypress Viaduct and the burning Marina district transformed this incident from a distant disaster into a phenomenon that touched us all. The Loma Prieta earthquake was followed in December 1990 by the inaccurate but widely publicized New Madrid earthquake prediction. Despite its inaccuracy, this prediction alerted the public to the fact that the largest earthquake ever to have occurred in the United States occurred not in California or Alaska, but in Missouri, and that a large earthquake could occur there again. Americans are discovering that few places are immune to the possibility of an earthquake.
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