November 16, 1923

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News from November 16, 1923 (The Standard Union, via™)

News from November 16, 1923 (The Standard Union, via™)

Professor Completes Earthquake Map of California

In November 1923, Professor Bailey Willis of Stanford University completed an earthquake map of California for the Seismological Society of America. The map outlined the geological faults where earthquakes were likely to occur. Willis suggested that in the future, scientists might be able to forecast earthquake shocks similarly to how they forecast storms. 

The map identified specific earthquake rifts where shocks of varying intensity could be expected. These rifts were presented as facts, with movements on them being as certain as thunderstorms in New York during the early summer. The goal was to eventually keep an accurate record of the elastic vibrations of the earth’s crust along these danger lines to forecast shocks, though many problems still needed to be solved.

Willis also discussed the characteristics of earthquakes in California and other regions without volcanoes. He noted that volcanic activity could also cause shocks, and it was possible that one type of earthquake might trigger another. In California, however, only the elastic or so-called tectonic earthquakes were observed.

The earthquake map of California was created to contribute to the safety of the people of the state. It aimed to inform the public about certain natural and unavoidable conditions that posed a risk.

Learn more about November 16, 1923, through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.

Source Articles and Clippings

"November 16, 1923," Topics ( : accessed February 21, 2024)