1994 CSUN Earthquake
This quake's duration was 11 seconds, but for many years remained the costliest natural disaster in US history. Its costs have been exceeded only by the September 11, 2001 terrorism attacks, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"The 1994 Northridge earthquake in general Northridge is in the San Fernando Valley region of Greater Los Angeles, California. However, January 17th 1994 is etched into the memories of most Southern Californians as the day, at 4:31 in the morning, that the Northridge earthquake struck. Incapable of waiting for accurate reports from the USGS the press quickly named it the Northridge earthquake, whereas later investigation by the USGS showed it to have an epicenter on Reseda. Scientifically the earthquake was along a south dipping blind thrust fault with a focal depth of 19km, it was determined to be 6.7 in magnitude, making it a strong earthquake. This surprised many people as; all in all, the earthquake had caused $20 billion of damage, 57 deaths and over 5000 serious injuries. Structural damage included partial and total collapse of buildings and transport systems, as well as severe disruption to energy supplies to an area of around 4000 square kilometers. Which, all in all, is more in keeping with an earthquake that is categorized as at least being a major one! Apart from the extensive damage to CSUN, in the 1994 California some of the most memorable images of damage caused by it were those of the I-5/SH-14 San Fernando - Newhall interchange, with the overpass abruptly ending, leaving a mess of reinforced concrete dangling from it. This spectacular collapse and those of several other buildings led to improved engineering standards being drawn up for new buildings and other structures in and around Los Angeles." (source)