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Carmen Ramos Chandler ,
On March 12, 1928, three minutes before midnight, the St. Francis Dam broke, sending 12 billion gallons of water into the San Francisquito Canyon and the valleys below, killing more than 450 people in their sleep.
Cal State Northridge remembers the tragedy with an exhibit of the St. Francis Dam located in the lobby of the Oviatt Library at the center of the campus. The exhibit will remain on display through March 31.
Destruction from the broken dam, located in the Santa Clara Valley near Castaic, caused devastation from Castaic Valley to Ventura.
"The collapse impacted a lot of people. It wiped out groves of fruits and vegetables, bridges, businesses and homes," said Tony Gardner, curator of special collections and archives at CSUN library.
The St. Francis Dam disaster is considered the second worst disaster in California's history, following the San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906.
"This tragedy has changed the way dams are built and monitored in this country," said Cindy Ventuleth, director of library development.
The failure of the St. Francis dam pioneered the study of engineering geology, which looks into the impacts of both engineering and geology on dam construction.
For more information about the exhibit, call Joyclyn Dunham or Cindy Ventuleth at (818) 677-2638.
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Carmen Ramos Chandler, Director of News and Information