1906 San Francisco Earthquake – 105 Year Anniversary

April 18 marks the 105 th anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and fire.  At 5:12 AM the earthquake struck the heart of the city.  To this day, the event is considered one of the most significant earthquakes in recorded history, not just for its size and damage but for the lessons learned.  The 1906 earthquake was essentially the beginning of modern scientific study of the San Andreas fault system and provided a boost to seismic study in the US as compared to Europe and Japan. 

This quake occurred well before modern seismographs were distributed throughout San Francisco.  A number of researchers have made serious attempts to estimate the “official magnitude” of the quake based on various available records and documentation.  The resulting estimate varies from a magnitude of 7.7 to 8.3.   A surprising number of  photographs of the event are available in various historical collections.  USGS provides electronic links for a number of 1906 earthquake collections.

Update:  For a really unique way to look at historic photographs of the 1906 earthquake try using historypin.  You can pull up  Google Street View and see where the photos were taken, including making the historic photo fade in and out for a better map view.  Historypin already has a Collection of 1906 Earthquake Photos making it easy for you on this particular topic.

Not to let the 2011 anniversary day go by unnoticed, mother nature celebrated the day with a small reminder.  Residents of the area experienced a magnitude 3.41 quake just before 3 PM.

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