Impact Of The Great San Francisco Earthquake

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Great San Francisco Earthquake

On April 18, 1906, at 5:12 am over 400 thousand lives were forever changed, due to the San Francisco Earthquake. The 7.7-7.9 magnitude earthquake only lasted for a minute, however, the impact was incredible. The earthquake ignited several fires that spread throughout San Francisco and lasted for three days.

Tectonic plates make up the outermost shell of the Earth and have been moving in relation to each other for hundreds of millions of years. Two tectonic plates, North American Plate and Pacific Plate, meet in Western California. The boundary between these plates is a zone of faults. One of these faults is called the San Andreas fault, which is a transform plate boundary. This means the motion between the two relative plates is mainly horizontal. At 5:12 am, the Pacific Plate slid horizontally north-west in relation to the North American Plate, causing the earthquake along the San Andreas fault and associated faults.1 Contemporary geologists were amazed and bewildered with the size of the horizontal tectonic movements and the large rupture length (477km).2

The San Francisco Earthquake had a highly significant impact on the surrounding environment. The overwhelming total death count for the earthquake and fires is estimated to be 3 thousand people. In addition, the earthquake left 250 thousand residents homeless and destroyed 28 thousand building.3 The tremors of the earthquake destroyed San Francisco’s water mains, resulting in the
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