The 1906 San Francisco Fire and Earthquake

Essay by chaorenCollege, Undergraduate March 2006

download word file, 7 pages 4.5

"Just after 5 A.M. on April 18, 1906, an earthquake measuring 8.3 on the Richter scale ripped through sleeping San Francisco toppling buildings, exploding gas mains, and trapping thousands of citizens beneath tons of stone, broken wood, and twisted metal. Herds of cattle stampeded madly through the streets. The air reverberated with the panicked screams of the doomed and dying." (Kurzman)

To some, the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire was one of the most horrific events to take place in the twentieth century. An estimated ten thousand people died in the disaster. After the earthquake soldiers lined the streets with the order to shoot suspected looters. These soldiers some drunk ended up shooting bayoneting or hanging in the street at least five hundred suspected looters. (Dolan)

By 1906 San Francisco's population had reached over 450,000 people. Most of these people were asleep on Wednesday, April 18 at about 5:13 A.M.

when the earthquake came. The first shock lasted for about forty-seven seconds. The second shock came at 5:18 followed by a third shock that came at 5:20. Two more shocks followed at 5:25 and 5:42. The next shock didn't come until 8:13. Eleven more shocks followed at 9:13, 9:25, 10:49, 11:05, 12:03, 12:10, 2:23, 2:27, 4:50, 6:49, and 7 o'clock. The earthquake was felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles and inland as far as central Nevada. 9100 miles away in Gottingen, Germany a recorded seismogram showed the ground in Germany moved as a result of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. After the quake, a 290 mile crack was left along the San Andreas Fault. Offsets in the fault ranged anywhere from eight to twenty eight feet. The ground was moving at a speed of about three miles per hour. (USGS)

John Farish, a mining engineer who...