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San Andreas Fault rupture

April 12, 2006
California Works to Prepare for Next 'Big One'
At 5:12 a.m. April 18, 1906, San Franciscans were jarred awake by a massive magnitude 7.9 earthquake, which caused buildings to crumble and killed an estimated 3,000 people.

Researchers believe there is a 62 percent chance another earthquake rivaling the "great one" in 1906 will hit the San Francisco Bay area within the next 30 years.

The Science Unit reports on efforts underway in California to address the likelihood of the next major earthquake.

Key Features

Earthquake damage The 1906 earthquake, which ruptured the entire San Andreas Fault in Northern California, is considered the birth of modern earthquake science.

Fault line map

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to seven major fault lines. Learn about their locations and likelihood for a major earthquake to occur in this interactive map.


Although earthquake engineering has revolutionized modern architecture, many of the new ideas have yet to be applied to millions of buildings in earthquake zones. See how different buildings stand up to growing quake intensities in this interactive.

Main: The Science Reports
Main: The 1906 Earthquake
Birth of Earthquake Science
Bay Area Preparedness
P-wave Warnings
Map: Major Bay Area Faults
Slide Show: Deconstructing the 1906 Quake
Interactive: Will This Building Stand?
Lesson Plan: History Through First-Person Accounts
Additional Resources

Predicting Earthquakes

PBS' Savage Earth

NOVA teacherís guide comparing volcanoes and earthquakes