Research Boosts Death Toll of 1906 San Francisco Quake

Associated Press

San Francisco's city archivist has boosted the death toll from the catastrophic 1906 earthquake to at least 2,500, and she said last week that the final count may exceed 5,000.

"We're at 2,500 and counting," with another 500 possible deaths under investigation, historian Gladys Hansen said during the American Seismological Society's annual meeting. "It wouldn't surprise me at all that we'll eventually reach over 5,000 people (killed)."

One year ago, Hansen said her 20 years of research showed that at least 2,010 people were killed by the quake, which caused widespread fires and has been estimated to have hit 8.25 on the Richter scale, a measure of ground motion that did not exist at the time.

She said her new death toll estimate is based on continued examination of public records, obituaries and other clippings from newspapers throughout the nation and from letters from people who heard about her study and wrote to tell her of relatives who died.

The quake's toll was officially reported as 478 to 498 soon after it happened.

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