Saturday, April 18, 2009

On This Day: San Francisco Struck by Devastating Earthquake

by Kate Davey
On April 18, 1906, at 5:12 am, San Francisco experienced what would become known as the worst earthquake in U.S. history. The city was almost entirely destroyed.

1906 Earthquake Destroys San Francisco
The quake struck about 20 minutes before dawn and came in two shocks lasting a little over a minute. In that brief period of time, the quake left much of San Francisco in ruins. Police officer Jessie Cook said the quake sounded like “the roar of the sea.” Henry Powell, a police lieutenant, also thought of the ocean when he said that Valencia Street started to “roll in waves like a rough sea in a squall, but it sank in places and vomited up its car tracks and the tunnels that carried the cables. These lifted themselves out of the pavement, and bent and snapped.”According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the earthquake released the energy of several nuclear bombs. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the magnitude of the 1906 earthquake was somewhere between 7.7 and 8.3, occurred on the San Andreas Fault and was felt from Oregon to Los Angeles.