1999 Hector Mine earthquake

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1999 Hector Mine earthquake
1999 Hector Mine earthquake is located in California
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Carson City
Carson City
1999 Hector Mine earthquake
UTC time1999-10-16 09:46:45
ISC event1643776
Local dateOctober 16, 1999 (1999-10-16)
Local time02:46:45 PDT [1]
Magnitude7.1 Mw [1]
Depth20 km (12 mi) [1]
Epicenter34°32′N 116°23′W / 34.54°N 116.39°W / 34.54; -116.39Coordinates: 34°32′N 116°23′W / 34.54°N 116.39°W / 34.54; -116.39 [1]
TypeStrike-slip [2]
Areas affectedSouthern California
United States
Total damageLimited [3]
Max. intensityVII (Very strong) [2]
Casualties4–5 injured [2][4]

The 1999 Hector Mine earthquake occurred on October 16 at 02:46:50 PDT with a moment magnitude of 7.1 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong). The strike-slip earthquake occurred in a remote part of the Mojave Desert, 47 miles (76 km) east-southeast of Barstow, California, inside the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base. Its name comes from a nearby quarry named Hector Mine, which is located 22 kilometers (14 mi) northwest of the epicenter.


The sequence of 12 foreshocks of up to magnitude 3.8 that began 20 hours before the Hector Mine event occurred in the same location as a cluster of off-fault aftershocks of the Landers quake.[5]


The earthquake was felt throughout Southern California, as well as in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many people were awakened in Las Vegas, with many reporting dizziness or trouble walking. Reports were filed as far north as Carson City, Nevada, where one woman reported waking up, hearing chimes in her house ringing.


Almost no damage was reported in the immediate area of the earthquake due to the remote location of the epicenter in the Mojave Desert, with no settlements for 14 miles in all directions; however, an Amtrak westbound Southwest Chief (train #3) became an unusual victim of the earthquake. The train was traveling near the epicenter when the quake struck. The combined force of the quake and train caused several rails to come loose and the train derailed. Only minor injuries were reported, and the trainset suffered repairable damage.


It is thought that the earthquake may have been triggered by the 1992 Landers earthquake seven years prior, since the recurrence interval of large earthquakes in the Eastern California Shear Zone is considered to be in the order of thousands of years.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d ISC (2017), ISC-GEM Global Instrumental Earthquake Catalogue (1900–2013), Version 4.0, International Seismological Centre, archived from the original on 2016-11-25, retrieved 2017-02-08
  2. ^ a b c USGS (September 4, 2009), PAGER-CAT Earthquake Catalog, Version 2008_06.1, United States Geological Survey, archived from the original on October 4, 2016
  3. ^ National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS) (1972), Significant Earthquake Database (Data Set), National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA, doi:10.7289/V5TD9V7K, archived from the original on 2017-07-21, retrieved 2016-03-08
  4. ^ Byers, W. G. (2001), Railroad damage from the October 16, 1999 Hector Mine earthquake (PDF), Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway, archived (PDF) from the original on September 23, 2012, retrieved February 8, 2017
  5. ^ "SCEDC – Hector Mine Earthquake". Archived from the original on 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
  6. ^ Robert J. Mellors; Lydie Sichoix; David T. Sandwell. "Lack of Precursory Slip to the Hector Mine Earthquake as constrained by INSAR" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  7. ^ Evelyn J. Price; Roland Bürgmann (2002). "Interactions between the Landers and Hector Mine, California, Earthquakes from Space Geodesy, Boundary Element Modeling, and Time-Dependent Friction". The Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 92 (4): 1450. Bibcode:2002BuSSA..92.1450P. doi:10.1785/0120000924. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2009-10-21.

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