The Great M7.8 San Francisco Earthquake, April 18, 1906


110 years later, why the San Francisco Earthquake still matters

damage5.gif Wreckage of buildings from the M7.8 San Francisco earthquake. (from University of Nebraska at Lincoln Gallery of the Open Frontier)

The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 was one of the most important geologic events of our time. Shaking damage destroyed many buildings, but it was the fires caused by severed gas lines during the earthquake that caused the city to burn for days after the shaking had stopped. More than 3,000 people are estimated to have died as a result, as well as 225,000 survivors left homeless by the 28,000 buildings that were destroyed. Check out the photo collections in these archives.

The earthquake itself was significant at an M7.8, but the damage it caused put into motion more intense focus on the study of earthquakes. This disaster spurred a movement for more scientific study of the geology and fault systems in California and…

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