San Francisco Bay Region Geology and Geologic Hazards

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San Francisco - 1906 Damage

The 1906 earthquake caused widespread destruction throughout much of Northern California, including the city of San Francisco, where widespread damage due to earthquake shaking was multiplied many times over by the uncontrolled fires that swept through the city in the days following the earthquake. Fire is a common byproduct of earthquakes due to the damage caused to electrical and gas systems, as well as to water systems which hampers fire fighting.

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This photo shows San Francisco City Hall following the 1906 earthquake.


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This photo mosaic shows the almost complete destruction of large parts of San Francisco by the 1906 earthquake and the related fires.


The 1906 earthquake was felt as far away as Oregon and central Nevada. Strong shaking was experienced as far north as Eureka and as far south as King City. The San Andreas Fault ruptured along a length of almost 300 miles, from San Juan Bautista to Shelter Cove (south of Eureka), with maximum surface offsets as much as 28 feet (for comparison, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake ruptured a length of about 25 miles and never broke through to the surface).

Learn more about the 1906 earthquake at the USGS 1906 earthquake Web site, through the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco External link - link policy applies, or at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory External link - link policy applies.

Learn more about the San Andreas Fault at:


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Page Last Modified: 8/18/2006