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Home: Regional: U.S. States: California: Inyo County

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Contemporary account of 1872 Earthquake in Inyo
Posted by: Vern Dander (ID *****8132) Date: August 21, 2007 at 19:01:31
  of 64

May be of interest as another account of earthquake. I have no further info but additional newspaper extracts may be found at URL:


Vern D
Transcribed by Dee Sardoch; <>
Stockton Daily Independent
Stockton, San Joaquin Co., CA
>>Monday, 1 Apr 1872<<

THE EARTHQUAKE in INYO -- Further Particulars -- Terrible Convulsions of Nature -- 1,000 Distinct Shocks Within 58 Hours --
Visalia, March 30 -- From Colonel WHIPPLE, who has just arrived by stage from Lone Pine, we learn the following particulars of the terrible earthquake which visited that section on the 26ths instant: About half-past 2a.m., the inhabitants of Lone Pine were awakened by a loud explosion, followed by a terrible upheaval and shaking of the earth from south to north. In an instant the

WHOLE TOWN WAS in RUINS, not a building being left standing. Colonel WHIPPLE, who was in the 2nd story of an adobe house, states that he had just time to jump from his bed and get to the doorway, when the house appeared to crumble to pieces beneath him, and he was buried among the ruins. He succeeded in extricating himself from the debris, suffering from several painful but not dangerous wounds. The scene which ensued beggars descriptions. Screams and groans rent the air in all directions. Nearly the whole populace of the town was buried beneath the ruins. Cries for help and screams of pain from the wounded filled the air, while from the ruins those who escaped were calling for help to rescue fathers, brothers, wives and children, which were agonizing to hear. The first shock was followed in quick succession by 3 other.

OVER 300 DISTINCT SHOCKS were felt between half-past 2 o’clock and sunrise; in fact the earth was in a constant shake and tremble for over 3 hours. A chasm was opened extending 35 miles down the valley, ranging from 3 inches to 40 feet in width. Rocks were torn from their places and rolled down into the valley. Everywhere through the valley are seen evidences of the terrible convulsion of Nature.

Jules MADELON, aged 45 years, native of France
George JOCELYN, aged 40 years, native of California
Louisa MUNTNINGER, infant
Alice MASON, aged 10 years, California
Francisco LOPEZ, 35 years, Mexico
Jose Maria RAVILLA, 50 years, Mexico
MONTARIN, 60 years, France
Miss LUCY, 35, Islands
Lorenzo MESA, 64, Mexico
John D. YBESELA, 42, Chili
Antionio MONTOYE, 25, Mexico
Maria Cordok TERRACON, 22, Mexico
Dolores TARRACON [spelled 2 ways], 8, California
Louisa TERRACON, 7, California
Alberto HENRIQUIS, 2, California
Philomel HENRIQUES [spelled 2 ways], 4, California
Tolinasday TAPICO, 60, Chili
Mr. GRAY, 42, Texas
Ignacio CORDOVA, 47, Mexico

F. Austin BADDIE
Mrs. Jose ALINE
J. Mankind BURTON
M.E. CULLUP & 3 children
Andrew LUMAS

CERRO GORDO was BADLY DAMAGED, many buildings cracked and some few thrown down -- no persons badly injured.

Swansea was also totally destroyed. Buildings all down to the ground, and furnaces all thrown down. Colonel TREGALLAS, of the Swansea works, was killed. No other casualty reported as yet. The Superintendent of the Swansea Company sent 20 men to Lone Pine and 16 were sent from Cerro Gordo, to assist in extricating the bodies from the ruins.

LONE PINE the CENTRE of COMMOTION. All accounts agree in placing Lone Pine over the centre of commotion. Before each shock an explosion could be heard which sounded immediately beneath the feet. Over 600 distinct shocks were felt within 58 hours after the first.

AT INDEPENDENCE, one man was killed, and many persons more or less injured. The buildings were all badly strained and cracked, and chimneys and walls thrown down. Goods were pitched from the shelves in stores, and everything breakable dashed to pieces. Some few buildings were prostrated at Fort Independence. A child was killed and several persons wounded. Walls and chimneys were thrown down.

1,000 DISTINCT SHOCKS. Up to Wednesday morning fully 1,000 distinct shocks were felt. At Tibbets Ranch, 15 miles above Independence, about 40 acres of ground sank about 7 feet below the surface of the surrounding country. Big Owens Lake has risen 4 feet since the first shock. Owens River ran over its banks, depositing shoals of fish on shore; afterward it receded. For a distance of 3 or 4 miles, through Lone Pine, the earth is cracked. One side remained stationary, while the other sank 7 or 8 feet, leaving a wall of earth extending over 3 miles in length where formerly was a level plain. Innumerable cracks were made throughout the valley.

Kern and Owens Rivers turned and ran up stream for several minutes, leaving their beds dry; finally they returned with largely increased volumes of water.

THE VOLCANO. A gentleman from Independence asserts that the smoke and ashes from a volcano could be distinctly seen from that town, and that word had been brought there that lava was running down the sides of the mountain. This is considered unreliable here, but we give it for what it is worth.

The most correct estimates place the number of killed at less than 30, while the wounded will probably foot up a hundred.

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