Reliving the earthquake that changed earthquake science

he 1906 earthquake in San Francisco destroyed sewer pipes, buckled streets, mangled telephone lines and crippled railroads in the Bay Area. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, a magnitude 7.7 to 7.9 earthquake shook San Francisco awake. Buildings crumbled, water mains ruptured and fires broke out across the city. Those fires would fuel a massive inferno that would rage through San Francisco for three days.

The 1906 earthquake and the firestorm that followed left at least 3,000 people dead and more than 200,000 homeless.

It also led to tremendous advances in earthquake science. The Report of the State Earthquake Investigation Commission, more commonly known as the Lawson Report, was published in 1908. The discoveries in this report laid the groundwork for modern seismic analysis.

For the 110th anniversary of the quake, @NewsHour dug through photos, reports and old records of the earthquake and recounted in a real-time Twitter narrative what happened during the catastrophe and the knowledge gained in the aftermath.

Special thanks to seismologist and Stanford University Consulting Professor Mary Lou Zoback; USGS seismologist David Wald; and USGS seismologist and author Susan Hough for their guidance on historical and scientific facts.

See below for a recap of the #1906Earthquake narrative:

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