April 20, 1998. 5:13 PM
A Los Angeles coming home from work was devastated when an earthquake measuring 10.5 on the Richter scale hit like the hand of an angry god punishing his children. Tsunami's generated by the quake consisting of 200 foot waves engulfed the city. The one place in America that had been expecting.... almost anticipating this event was completely unprepared for the magnitude of destruction which was wrecked upon it.
Hitting in the middle of rush hour traffic, which like always in LA, meant a complete standstill, the quake caught the city at the worst possible time. Overpasses and bridges that were packed to the brim collapsed, buildings toppled into each other and at the epicenter and the 15 miles surrounding it, the land itself actually dropped 20 feet as the fault line violently broke. The first aftershock hit 5 minutes after, exploding gas lines, rupturing water mains, and exposing underground electric lines, and of course destroying even more property. Their were five more massive aftershocks in 30 minutes and by the time they were finished LA was unrecognizable. Roads were completely blocked off, communication was all but dead, fires were breaking out all over, and the survivors were panicking. Nothing could be mobilized, no relief or rescue was possible, not that there was time for that anyway. Within minutes satellites were registering waves cresting at 200 feet bearing straight for the city. No warning could be given and 20 minutes after the quake, just as the survivors were getting their wits about them....... the waves hit and the "City of Angels" was swallowed by the sea. A week and a half after the quake the smell of the dead was noticeable for 15 miles, the smoke from fires still raging could be seen for twice that.
By the time it was all over, 35% of Los Angeles was a watery graveyard. An estimated 65,000 lives snuffed out in an instant. To LA's credit, advances made in quake resistant construction paid off. And the majority of skyscrapers and large office buildings remained standing, albeit barely. For the next week, every available aircraft in California and the three states surrounding converged on Los Angeles for the largest rescue/evacuation in history. Access by land was next to impossible, even in the areas that were still dry, due to toppled buildings, fires, and wreckage. Submerged, but exposed power lines made rescue by boat almost as impossible. Firefighters set to putting out the flames engulfing the area of Los Angeles that was still above sea level, but when it was all said and done, LA was broken beyond repair and was completely written off.
The water never receded, and after everyone that could had been evacuated the area was sealed off completely, leaving over three million Angelino's homeless and starving. The economic loss was estimated at 250 billion dollars, although it was most likely far greater, as the federal reserve and a vast number of banks were unsalvageable. The President officially declared it a "No Man's Land" 2 months after the incident in a worldwide press conference.
Not that salvage
attempted, but the current of the water, combined
with the many unknown
dangers both above and beneath the water made it
The ruins became known as Lost Angeles. A 50 foot wall was erected over the next two years codoning off the ruins, as the surviving area of LA was rebuilt into what is now known as the LA Metroplex. A small memorial center was built at the base of an overpass that collapsed. The remaining portion of the overpass extends over the walls and a half mile above the destroyed city. It provides the best view of the ruins, and is open to the public as a staunch reminder of mother natures wrath.