The 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck on April 18 with an estimated magnitude of 7.8, the same magnitude as a devastating quake this weekend in Ecuador.
San Francisco's temblor was followed by major fires that lasted for several days. The toll was high, about 3,000 people died and more than 80% of the city of San Francisco was destroyed.
Streets of San Francisco: Fires break out in San Francisco on April 18, 1906, after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the city.
Hibernia Bank: The building is in ruins following the massive earthquake that devastated the San Francisco area, April 18, 1906.
City streets: Damage caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and fire along a broad avenue in San Francisco.
Fault lines: A quake-spawned chasm cuts through pavement at the corner of 18th and Lexington streets. Cracks and separations in the roadway can be caused by lateral spreading, or the sliding of ground. In the 1994 Northridge earthquake, lateral spreading severed gas lines and triggered huge fires.
City in ruins: Aftermath of the earthquake and fire. This view is southwest from the corner of Geary and Mason streets.
Destroyed Civic Center: The remains of San Francisco City Hall after the 1906 earthquake.
Ruined Market Street: Sunken area near the Ferry Building. April 20, 1906.
Smithereens: Downtown San Francisco after the devastation.
Lone survivor: Massive damage surrounds a building in San Francisco.
Burning city: Smoke billows following the fire that ravaged San Francisco.
Wrecked neighborhood: Undulations as large as 6 feet are seen along Dore Street from Bryant Street toward Brannan Street.
Looking at the remains:At Market and 10th streets, a person looks up at the devastation.
Only a shell:Buildings destroyed by earthquake and fire, looking down Montgomery Street at Market Street.
Pile of bricks:A multi-story brick building collapses in downtown San Francisco.
Leaning askew: A frame house was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Charred downtown: The downtown of San Francisco, in the northeast of the city, was consumed by flames in the great fire that followed the 1906 earthquake.
Damage extent: This map of San Francisco drawn for the Army shows the downtown area and wharves after the 1906 earthquake. Lines show boundaries of relief areas, and dots indicate locations of kitchens. Crosshatching shows the burned area (514 blocks). (Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917, RG 94).
Rupture extent: Map shows the extent of the 1906 rupture seen at the surface. The total length is 296 miles (477 kilometers). For comparison, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake had a rupture length of about 25 miles (40 km).
Newspaper coverage: At left, the L.A. Times front page from April 19, 1906 detailing San Francisco's great earthquake and fire. At right, the San Francisco Call newspaper reports on how the flames from the great fire of 1906 headed toward the Ferry Building. The structure ultimately survived.
Recovery: A shopkeeper in San Francisco's devastated Chinatown was already selling souvenirs hours after the great 1906 earthquake hit.
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