The 1978 Santa Barbara Earthquake: U.C. Santa Barbara

It would be difficult to imagine a more pleasant setting for a university than the UCSB campus, with picturesque views of the Santa Barbara Channel to the south and the Santa Ynez Mountains to the north. But on August 13, 1978, the UCSB campus was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The earthquake ruptured in such a way as to focus much of its energy directly at the campus.

Significant structural damage occurred to 10 of 50 permanent UCSB buildings, including Biological Sciences II, Engineering, Library III, University Center, North Hall, and the dormitories, Anacapa, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa. The damages included diagonal cracking of lower story walls, most of which were repaired by injecting epoxy into the cracks.

In addition, approximately 400,000 books at the library were thrown to the floor. Elsewhere on campus, damage occurred to light fixtures, ceilings, plaster, and instruments and supplies in some labs. In the Chemistry building, a glass-walled cage holding several rattlesnakes broke, allowing the snakes to make a s-s-sneaky getaway. They were recaptured without incident. Total damage at UCSB was set at $3.4 million.


Seismogram from UCSB (63 kb)
Books at the UCSB library (48 kb)

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