Anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake

April 18, 2006


Provided by: U.S. Corps of Engineers
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

One hundred years ago today, at 5:12 a.m. (local time) on April 18 1906, a powerful earthquake devastated San Francisco. Though the quake was felt from southern Oregon to Los Angeles and inland as far as central Nevada, the epicenter was very near close to the "City by the Bay." The northernmost 296 miles (477 kilometers) of the San Andreas fault ruptured from near San Juan Bautista to Cape Mendocino. The resulting shocks violently rocked San Francisco for some 45 to 60 seconds. With gas lines ripped apart by the shaking, the city caught fire and was ablaze for the better part of 3 days. Approximately 500 city block were leveled and nearly a quarter of a million people were instantly homeless. It's estimated that perhaps as many as 3,000 people lost their lives in the deadliest quake in U.S. history. This catastrophic quake is believed to be the catalyst for the modern science of seismology.

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