San Francisco Earthquake 1906

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At approximately 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906 the city of San Francisco was struck by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake! The main shock occurred offshore about 2 miles out. The earthquake happened along the San Andreas Fault line, and the shock was felt from Oregon to Los Angeles. The earthquake was extremely catastrophic which also resulted in fires. This earthquake is remembered as one of the most destructive natural disasters next to the Galveston hurricane of 1900, and hurricane Katrina of 2005. The death toll is believed to have soared past the 3000+ casualty mark. San Francisco was the 9th largest city in the US, and the largest city on the west coast. Over the years San Francisco had become a financial, trade powerhouse and was even referred to as “gateway to the pacific” because they had the busiest port on the West coast. The initial impact was devastating which left about 300,000 people homeless out of a population of about 410,000. Many of the people were evacuated to nearby cities, and the others lived in makeshift tents on the beach of North beach. In fact years later in 1908 these refugee camps were still in operation. The overall cost of the damages was estimated at the time to be 400 million US Dollars (around 8.2 Billion present Dollars). The fires that were a direct result from the main shock and the aftershocks were just as damaging because of the uncontrollable burning from ruptured gas lines. Over 30 fires destroyed more than 25,000 homes on 490 city blocks. Water mains were broken due to the quake which gave the fire department few resources to work with. The Navy contributed to putting out fires by running water lines and providing water to the city’s fire department for their steam engines. International assistance was extremely beneficial because a lot of money was raised and donated to the city for reconstruction. London, England

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