Two of the strongest earthquakes ever to hit California strike the desert area east of Los Angeles on this day in 1992. Although the state sits upon the immense San Andreas fault line, relatively few major earthquakes have hit California in modern times. Two of the strongest, but not the deadliest, hit southern California on a single morning in the summer of 1992.
Just before 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, a 7.3-magnitude quake struck in Landers, 100 miles east of Los Angeles. Because the Landers area is sparsely populated, damage was relatively minor given the intensity of the jolt. In Los Angeles, residents experienced rolling and shaking for nearly a minute. The tremors were also felt in Arizona, Las Vegas and as far away as Boise, Idaho.
Just over three hours later, a second 6.3-magnitude tremor hit in Big Bear, not too far from the original epicenter. This quake caused fires to break out and cost three people their lives. A chimney fell on a 3-year-old child and two people suffered fatal heart attacks. Between the two quakes, 400 people were injured and $92 million in damages were suffered. The physical damage was also significant. The quakes triggered landslides that wiped out roads and opened a 44-mile-long rupture in the earth, the biggest in California since the 1906 San Francisco quake.