The earthquake of 1906 is considered one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history. The earthquake happened April 18, 1906, at 5:12 am, with the epicenter near San Fransisco, and the shaking lasted for 45-60 seconds.
It was also felt in southern Oregon, down to Los Angeles, and as far inland as central Nevada. The earthquake measured a 7.9 magnitude, followed by a devastating fire. The phenomenon is also known as the ¨Great San Fransisco Earthquake and Fire¨. Many say the fire did more damage than the earthquake, destroying up to 4.7 miles and losing 28,188 buildings.
There were over 3,000 deaths related directly and indirectly to the catastrophe, as well as 225,000 people left homeless. The population of San Fransisco at that time was around 400,000. The estimated property damage was $400,000,000 from the earthquake and fire combined.
Many people question whether another disaster like this will happen again in California. There have been significant earthquakes in California since this, including one in 1952, the Kern County earthquake. A 7.3 quake killed 12 people and injured hundreds, causing $60 million in property damage.
The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake was a 6.9 magnitude earthquake 56 miles south of San Fransisco, near Mt. Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz Mountains. An aftershock of 5.2 occurred 2.5 minutes after the initial quake, 65 people were killed, over 3500 were injured, and 12,053 were displaced.
1994 was the Northridge Earthquake. It was a 6.7 magnitude centered in Northridge, the southern California area. A total death toll of 72 and thousands were injured. There was 20 billion in damage, plus 40plus billion in economic loss, and it was the most expensive earthquake disaster in U.S. history.
1999 was the Ludlow earthquake, a 7.1 magnitude. The center was in a remote part of the Mojave Desert, and very little damage was caused.
However, residents of California have become accustomed to the ground shaking; the San Andreas fault is to blame for most of them as it is the longest fault in California.