30 Year Anniversary of Loma Prieta Earthquake

The MAH partnered with local historians and organizations to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

This October, Santa Cruz County organizations, groups, and community members are gathering together to present a wide range of events, exhibits, and discussions to mark the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake.


Attend emergency preparedness courses, historic walking tours, and so much more. Then, swing by the MAH to see the newest addition to the history gallery, Art & Healing: 30 Years After Loma Prieta Earthquake

Map Earthquake Oakland World Series San Francisco October 17

The Loma Prieta Earthquake

At 5:04 p.m. on October 17th, 1989 a 6.9 earthquake rocked California along the San Andreas Fault in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Due to the proximity to the epicenter, Santa Cruz County was hit the hardest. It was a seminal event that profoundly altered the history of Santa Cruz County going forward.

Since then, thousands of Santa Cruz County residents have rallied to rebuild our neighborhoods, homes, and sense of community. They've rebuilt shattered buildings and businesses and created a space for Santa Cruz to heal. The index of events found below honors the 30th anniversary of the earthquake and the spirit of a community coming together both in the good times and the bad.

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“People need each other during times of disaster but they also need each other when there’s no disaster.”

Thomas Brezsny

In the News

How Public Art Revived the Ruins of Post-Quake Santa Cruz

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Santa Cruz Commemorates Loma Prieta Earthquake With Moment of Silence

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Amazing stories shared about the Loma Prieta Earthquake, preserved for history.

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Moment of silence to be held in Santa Cruz on moment Loma Prieta hit 30 years ago.

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Santa Cruz residents hold moment of silence over Loma Prieta

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30 Years Later: A look back at the Loma Prieta Earthquake and the recovery that followed

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The Earthquake That Ended the Santa Cruz Hippie Era

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Santa Cruz landmarks survive 30 years after earthquake, others rebuilt

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Loma Prieta 30 years later: Santa Cruz rises from the rubble to become a model of earthquake preparedness

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Guest Commentary | 30 years after quake, we still need each other

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Related Events

Check out the local events that were offered leading up to the 30 year anniversary.

Oct. 1st | Join Gary Griggs, a local author, and professor of natural history to discuss Santa Cruz’s unique relationship with natural disasters at the Scotts Valley Library. More Event Details >>

Oct. 2nd | Bring your lunch and questions for a special Lunchtime Learning: Shaken and then Stirred: Right Before & After the Earthquake with Charlie Eadie. Sponsored by the Sereno Group and the Downtown Association. The MAH. 12:00-1:30pm.

Oct 2nd - Dec 6th | Browse the exhibit at the Porter College Faculty Gallery at UCSC (located next to the Sesnon Gallery). Created in collaboration with the MAH’s Art & Healing: 30 Years After The Loma Prieta Earthquake Exhibit. FREE

Oct. 4th | Uncover how public art helped rebuild Downtown Santa Cruz inside Art & Healing, a new exhibit located inside the permanent Santa Cruz County History Gallery. On view October 4, 2019 - August 22, 2021.

Visit for free on First Fridays. October First Friday Event Details >>

Oct. 4th - Oct. 31st | View an interactive art installation at the MAH by Ann Altstatt and Kyle Lane-McKinley titled, A Time Machine for the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Oct. 4th | Swing by The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History from 5-7pm for a free open house exploration of natural disasters in Santa Cruz, including fire resiliency, emergency response, HAM radio, and earthquakes. See more event details >>

Oct. 9th | Bring your lunch and curiosity for another Lunchtime Learning: Vision Santa Cruz: A Model for Recovery. Sponsored by the Sereno Group and The Downtown Association. This discussion and educational talk will dig into how other cities have looked to Santa Cruz as a model for recovery. The MAH. 12:00-1:30pm

Oct. 10th | Join the Red Cross for a special Emergency Preparedness class at Aptos Library. American Red Cross instructors will be there to teach you how to prepare for an emergency and offer instruction in hands-only CPR. 6:30-8 pm. Free. More Event Details >>

Oct. 12th | Walkthrough downtown with historian Ross Gibson, as he highlights the changes to Downtown Santa Cruz since the earthquake. The tour begins at Eagle Monument on the corner of Pacific Ave & Front Street (in front of Jamba Juice & The Post Office). 1:00-2:00pm.

Oct. 13th | Join Santa Cruz County and State Office of Emergency Services, The Red Cross, PG&E, The Santa Cruz Fire Department, The Santa Cruz Police Department for an Emergency Preparedness and Safety Event at the Civic Center. Plus, browse historical photos of Loma Prieta and enjoy light snacks. 12-4pm.

Oct. 15th | Join the Red Cross for a special Emergency Preparedness class at Scotts Valley Library. American Red Cross instructors will be there to teach you how to prepare for an emergency and offer instruction in hands-only CPR. 6:30-8 pm. Free. More Event Details >>

Oct. 16th | Bring your lunch and questions for a special Lunchtime Learning Panel Discussion on How Downtown Businesses Responded and Recovered After the Quake. Sponsored by Sereno Group and The Downtown Association. The MAH. 12:30-1pm.

Oct. 17th | Stop by the Downtown Santa Cruz Library for an uplifting community event commemorating the 1989 earthquake and the launch their oral history videos. 4:45-6:15 pm. More Event Details >>

Oct. 17th | Stop by The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for a lecture from Frank Perry exploring the history and geology of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Presented in partnership with the Capitola History Museum. 7-8:30 p.m. More Event Details >>

Oct. 17th | Swing by Abbott Square for a family-friendly pop-up event commemorating the earthquake with photos and artifacts from 1989, plus drop-in craft activities. 12:00-5:04pm.