HOW THE DISASTER SHOOK AMERICA
108 years later the San Francisco earthquake still stands as America’s worst
natural disaster in history. With over 3 000 fatalities and almost 10 000 injuries it
was a devastating experience for many. This brutal disaster left 400 000
homeless and many faced difficulty and hardship for several days.
The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 hit San Francisco and Northern
California on Wednesday, April 18th at 5:12am. The earthquake itself lasted for
less than a minute, but it came with multiple uncontrollable fires that lasted for
days. Because of this, there was an estimated 3 000 fatalities and over 80% of
San Francisco was brutally destroyed. The survivors whose homes where
destroyed slept in tents in city parks, stood in long lines for food, and were
required to do their cooking in the street to minimize the threat of additional
fires. The San Francisco earthquake is one of the worst natural disasters in U.S.
HOW THE EARTHQUAKE STARTED
The North American plate, and the Pacific plate boundaries form what is
called the San Andreas Fault. The Pacific plate is slowly moving northward,
and is "locked" at the areas around Los Angeles and San Francisco. The
central part of California’s plates are constantly moving 3/4 of an inch per
year (1.9 Cm). The plate boundaries that are "locked", build up pressure and
suddenly release causing a rough shake called an earthquake.
There are 3 primary types of Tectonic Plate Boundaries; Divergent,
Convergent and Transform. To understand the boundaries, you must
understand what each word means. Divergent means pulling apart,
Convergent means coming together and transform is sliding against.
At divergent boundaries new crust is created as one or more plates pull away
from each other. Oceans are born and grow wider where plates diverge or
A convergent boundary is an actively deforming region where two or more
tectonic plates below earth’s surface move toward one another and collide.
As a result of pressure and friction, earthquakes and volcanoes are common
near convergent boundaries
Transform Boundaries are where two plates are sliding horizontally against one
another. These are also known as transform boundaries or more commonly as
faults. The San Francisco earthquake was caused by the Transform Boundaries.
The magnitude of an earthquake shows you how rough of a shake it was. The
scale ranges from 1-10; 1 being the least violent and 10 being very violent. The
San Francisco earthquake hit with a powerful 7.8 magnitude. The epicenter of
the shake was 2 miles off the coast of San Francisco near Mussel Rock. The
shake was felt from Oregon to Los Angeles and all the way to Nevada.
Despite the mass of the earthquake, there was no after-shocks or tsunamis.
THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH IS CONSTANTLY
Everyday, Earth’s plates are constantly moving and changing. Some changes
are less obvious while others are clearly moving. When the plates move, it
changes the earth because the plates are no longer in their previous position.
The changing of earth can take place in multiple ways such as weathering,
volcanos, earthquakes and erosions. As a result, the earth is always finding
new ways to change and move.