LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Tuesday is the 50th anniversary of the devastating San Fernando earthquake, which led to the creation of a first-of-its-kind federal program to reduce earthquake risk.
The 1971 San Fernando Earthquake — sometimes referred to as the Sylmar earthquake — struck the Sylmar area right at 6 a.m. on Feb. 9, wreaking death and destruction throughout the region.READ MORE: Report: Court Rules Vanessa Bryant Can Obtain Names Of LASD Deputies Accused Of Sharing Crash Site Photos
The magnitude-6.6 earthquake was felt for 300 miles along the coast of California and as far inland as Las Vegas.READ MORE: Officials: 6 In Critical Condition After Stolen Vehicle Pursuit Ends In Multi-Vehicle Crash
The northwest area of Los Angeles suffered the most damage from the earthquake, which killed 65 people and injured more than 2,000. Property damage – which included collapsed freeways, severely damaged hospitals, and a weakened reservoir that threatened to flood an area occupied by nearly 80,000 residents downstream — totaled more than half a billion dollars.
The devastation of the 1971 San Fernando earthquake led to significant advances in protecting against future quakes, including the identification of fault zones, the creation of a database to record the effects of ground motion on man-made structures, and the Hospital Safety Act of 1972, which both retrofitted older hospitals and set new building standards so that hospital buildings would remain operable after an earthquake.MORE NEWS: Authorities Find Silvia Ochoa De Hernandez, Woman Who Went Missing In South Gate
The earthquake also prompted the first Earthquake Clearinghouse, which facilitated better coordination between scientists, engineers, and emergency responders.