The 1902 Los Alamos Earthquakes: Thirteen Years Later

Triskaidekaphobics beware: thirteen years after the 1902 earthquakes, on January 11, 1915, Los Alamos was again shaken by a series of earthquakes. Professor Carl Beal of Caltech undertook the journey from Pasadena to study the earthquakes. This was not an easy trip at the time--Professor Beal took the train to Lompoc, then went on horseback to Los Alamos, Solvang, Los Olivos, and Santa Maria. Beal reported the following in the October, 1915 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America:

Some interesting data were obtained in regard to the effect of the earthquake on animals. On some of the ranches not far distant from Los Alamos the horses in the stables became frightened and snorted. The chickens at roost squawked and made a great commotion, while the dogs showed fear and barked. Cats were badly frightened and in a few cases ran out of the house and would not venture inside or eat for several days.

The people living in the district that was most seriously shaken were affected in various ways. Two or three women became dizzy and fainted, while practically everybody was frightened, and many people ran from their houses. There have been many light shocks since the [largest earthquake], and a few people have become very nervous by their constant recurrence.

At Zaca Lake the earthquake is given credit for having started a clock which previously was incapable of running. The swaying motion of the shock started the pendulum swinging, and it is reported that the clock has since kept excellent time.

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