Abstract

The St. Francis Dam (Fig. 1), a curved concrete gravity structure 209-feet high, located in the mountains about 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, failed catastrophically near midnight just before March 12, 1928. The failure released 36,180 acre-feet of water down San Francisquito Canyon on a turbulent 55-mile journey to the Pacifica Ocean near Ventura, killing 450 people. As the deadliest American civil engineering failure of the 20th century, the city of Los Angeles paid more than $7 million in restitution to the victims' families and affected landowners. The sudden failure of a new concrete dam constructed by a reputable public agency had enormous repercussions within the civil engineering profession, especially in California.

Department(s)

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Geotechnical Engineering

Library of Congress Subject Headings

California
Dam failures
Dams

Geographic Coverage

California

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2006 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Included in

Geology Commons

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