Death Valley, CA Earthquake Hits Mojave Area, Jan 1961


Pasadena, Calif. (UPI) -- A sharp earthquake with a magnitude of 5.5 on the Richter scale jolted the western Mojave Desert around Death Valley, Calif., early today, authorities reported.
The tembler was recorded by DR. CHARLES F. RICHTER at the California Institute of Technology here and by DR. DON TOCHER of the University of California Seismology Station at Berkeley, Calif.
Both men said their instruments showed the shock to be of a 5.5 magnitude. TOCHER'S instruments recorded the quake at 12:13 a.m. PST and RICHTER'S instruments showed it occurred at 12:13.11 a.m. PST.
RICHTER placed the center of the quake about 170 miles northeast of this Los Angeles suburb, or roughly in the Death Valley area.
Both scientists said the quake was more powerful than the 1957 shock which caused extensive damage in San Francisco. The latter registered 5.3 on the RICHTER scale, RICHTER said.
Authorities said no reports of injury or damage had been made.
Law enforcement agencies in Fresno, Bakersfield and Barstow reported either feeling the shock or receiving telephone calls from sleepy residents who felt it.
The quake was not felt in Calexico, southeast of here, nor in Needles, east of here on the California-Arizona border.
MYRTLE RIDLER, radio dispatcher and clerk fo the California Highway Patrol in Barstow, said she felt the quake.
"I just felt it. This building shook. There was just one jar of the building. The building pitched forward and back and the desk went forward and came back," the dispatcher said.
Barstow police said it appeared to be "quite a shock."

Eureka Humboldt Standard California 1961-01-28