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Francisco Earthquake Impact

An earthquake is a shaking of the surface of the earth resulting from the sudden release of energy from the earth’s lithosphere. Earthquakes can range from weak to violent enough to destroy everything on the surface of the earth. Geologists believe that plate tectonics provides driving forces for the generation of earthquakes ( Borcherdt & Gibbs 1906).

On the morning of April 18, 1906, a sudden shock banged San Francisco. About half a minute later, one of the biggest quakes in history smacks the sleeping city awake. Modern geologists estimate that the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was measured between the magnitude 7.7 and 8.3. The quake demolished 28,000 constructions, about 700 people lost their lives, and almost all of the city’s 400,000 citizens were displaced (Thatcher 1906).

Now, after the long period 100 years.. Footage of the quake’s heavily damaging aftermath has been found. Providing hope for treasure hunters around the globe, photography collector David Silver found the rare roll of nitrate film at a California flea market loaded in the trunk of a car (Ellsworth et al. 1906).

In the post-disaster footage, filmmakers follow a similar path down Market Street as in their previous work. A ruin strewn with rubble and refugees was once a road walled with huge buildings and bustling with commerce. Half-crumbled buildings are exploited as bystanders look numbly on. Affected families haul their remaining belongings to the city port, ready to leave and perhaps never come back.

The streets were absolutely full of people, Children were having fun, and everyone was enjoying his time, but within no time, Market Street was no longer what it was just a moment before the earthquake. Wright said.” Little did they know that just four days later, a lot of lives would be lost, a lot of smiles would be missing, and a lot of buildings would be gone”.18 April was the darkest day in the history of San Francisco.


Borcherdt RD, Gibbs JF. Effects of local geological conditions in the San Francisco Bay region on ground motions and the intensities of the 1906 earthquake. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 1976 Apr 1;66(2):467-500.

Ellsworth WL, Lindh AG, Prescott WH, Herd DG. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the seismic cycle. Earthquake Prediction. 1981:126-40.

Thatcher W. Strain accumulation and release mechanism of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research. 1975 Dec 10;80(35):4862-72.



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