The Impact of the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake on Coastal Bluffs and Implications for Land Use Planning

by Nathaniel Plant, Univ of California, Santa Cruz, CA, United States,
Gary B. Griggs, Univ of California, Santa Cruz, CA, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The October 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake caused bluff failure along 100 miles of coastline between San Francisco and central Monterey Bay in a variety of rock types and slope conditions. Failure was most widespread closest to the epicenter where extensive bluff top cracking and collapse led to the demolition of three homes and six apartments. The long-term stability of the bluffs which experienced tensional cracking up to 30 feet inland from the bluff edge is uncertain. A number of roads, utility lines and additional structures are present in these areas. The potential for earthquake- induced bluff failure is widespread along virtually the entire coastline of California due to the presence of active faults throughout this zone. To date, however, this has not been a widely recognized hazard.

Subject Headings: Failure analysis | Earthquakes | Coastal environment | Land use | Shores | Cracking | Landslides | Coastal management | California | United States

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