San Francisco Earthquake of 1906

The San Francisco earthquake of April 18, 1906, ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time.

At 5:12 a.m., a foreshock occurred with sufficient force for it to be felt widely throughout the San Francisco Bay area. The great earthquake broke loose some 20 to 25 seconds later, with an epicenter near San Francisco.

Violent shocks punctuated the strong shaking, which lasted some 45-to-60 seconds. The earthquake was felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles and inland as far as central Nevada.

In the public's mind, the earthquake is perhaps remembered most for the fire it spawned in San Francisco.

The damage from the quake itself, however, was equally severe in many other places along the fault rupture. The frequently quoted figure of 700 deaths caused by the earthquake and fire is now believed to be an underestimate of the total loss of life by a factor of three or four. Most of the fatalities occurred in San Francisco, and 189 were reported elsewhere.

A report of U.S. Army relief operations recorded 498 deaths in San Francisco, 64 deaths in Santa Rosa, and 102 deaths in and near San Jose.

A 1972 report suggested that 700-800 deaths is a reasonable figure. After extensive research, however, investigators Gladys Hansen and Emmet Condon estimated that more than 3,000 deaths were caused directly or indirectly by the catastrophe.

The population of San Francisco at the time was about 400,000. The earthquake and fire caused 225,000 people to be immediately homeless.

The number of buildings destroyed during the earthquake and the following fire was estimated at 28,000.

The three-day conflagration burned an area that covered 4.7 square miles. By one count the loss was: wood buildings lost, 24,671; brick buildings lost, 3,168; other, 349; total buildings lost, 28,188.

Monetary loss was more than $400 million, in 1906 dollars, from earthquake and fire; $80 million from the earthquake alone.

- - - Books You May Like Include: ----

St. Francis Dam Disaster by John Nichols.
Minutes before midnight on the evening of March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam collapsed. The dam's 200-foot concrete wall crumpled, sending billions o...
A Crack in the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester.
Geologically speaking, 1906 was a violent year: powerful, destructive Earthquakes shook the ground from Taiwan to South America, while in Italy, Mount...
San Francisco Is Burning: The Untold Story of the 1906 Earthquake and Fires by Dennis Smith.
Killing hundreds and leaving a city in ruins, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 stands as one of the greatest natural disasters in American history...
The Big One: The Earthquake That Rocked Early America and Helped Create a Science by Charles Officer.
In the early 1800s a series of gargantuan earth tremors seized the American frontier. Tremendous roars and flashes of eerie light accompanied huge spo...
The San Francisco Earthquake by Gordon Thomas.
The authors use never-before-published eyewitness reports and previously ignored documents of the insurance companies, the military, and the Red Cros...