The great San Francisco earthquake was devastating and a geological wonder. In fact, it ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time. The great earthquake did not just affect San Francisco, but it also affected cities all around the area. Many were left homeless and lives were torn apart. It is a wonder that San Francisco recovered from this earthquake
At 5:12 AM on April 18, 1906, shocks and tremors were felt throughout San Francisco Bay. It was about twenty to twenty-five seconds later that the real disaster would happen. The “great earthquake” broke loose with violent shocks and shaking and magnitudes estimated from 7.7 to 8.3. The earthquake was felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles and inland as far as central Nevada. The great earthquake started due to a rupture in the San Andreas Fault. The epicenter was found near San Francisco about two miles off shore. The earthquake ruptured the northernmost 296 miles of the San Andreas Fault. The San Andreas Fault is a strike-slip fault and was the cause of most of the violent shaking. The constant, violent shaking lasted for about forty-five to sixty seconds, but that wasn’t the end of it. The earthquake spawned a massive, uncontrollable fire. 4.7 square miles of charred ash later, the fire finally died down leaving many people homeless and devastated.
The damage that was left behind is unimaginable. Most of the intensity ratings were eight and nine. Because the technology needed to record the earthquakes data was not around in 1906, the few stations that existed couldn’t get all the info that they wanted or that was necessary. 225,000 people were left homeless due to this earthquake. A total of 28,000 buildings were destroyed and 4.7 square miles were burned by the great fires that develop. A total of $400 million in property damage was made. The fire wrecked $320 million more of the city, than the actual earthquake did. Displacement was found largest at the fault of up to twenty feet and decreased with distance from it. The previously straight line that was crossing the fault had now become curved due to displacement. Reid, a geologist in 1910, formed the elastic-rebound theory after studying this earthquake.
In the end, a great amount of damage was caused by this earthquake. It will always be remembered as one of the world’s biggest catastrophes and devastations. Some geologists even compare it to Hurricane Katrina. To this day, the great earthquake will be remembered for the large amount of lives it took and how many lives it ruined.