Updated:
Original:
Year
1992

Two big quakes rock California

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.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Archduke Ferdinand assassinated

On this day in 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie are shot to death by a Bosnian Serb nationalist during an official visit to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. The killings sparked a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I by early ...read more

Keynes predicts economic chaos

At the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles with the Allies, officially ending World War I. The English economist John Maynard Keynes, who had attended the peace conference but then left in protest of the treaty, was one of the most outspoken ...read more

U.S. forces launch first offensive

In the first major offensive ordered for U.S. forces, 3,000 troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade–in conjunction with 800 Australian soldiers and a Vietnamese airborne unit–assault a jungle area known as Viet Cong Zone D, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The operation was called off ...read more

Mike Tyson bites ear

On June 28, 1997, Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield’s ear in the third round of their heavyweight rematch. The attack led to his disqualification from the match and suspension from boxing, and was the strangest chapter yet in the champion’s roller-coaster career. Mike Tyson ...read more

A teenage girl’s boyfriend murders her parents

Police are called to the home of Jim and Naomi Olive in Terra Linda, California, after Jim Olive’s business partner reports that the couple has not been seen in a week. The house in disarray, officers found no sign of either the Olives or their adopted teenage daughter Marlene. ...read more

A serial rapist strikes in Allentown

A knife-wielding serial rapist and murderer attacks Denise Sam-Cali in her Allentown, Pennsylvania, home. Although he succeeded in raping Sam-Cali on the front lawn outside her house, the woman survived and later proved instrumental in bringing him to justice. Sam-Cali’s vicious ...read more

Former President James Madison dies

On this day in 1836, James Madison, drafter of the Constitution, recorder of the Constitutional Convention, author of the “Federalist Papers” and fourth president of the United States, dies on his tobacco plantation in Virginia. Madison first distinguished himself as a student at ...read more