Volcanoes and Earthquakes

Of what magnitude was the earthquake that hit San Francisco on April 18, 1906?

The historic 1906 San Francisco earthquake took a mighty toll on the city and surrounding area. Over 700 people were killed; the newly constructed $6 million city hall was ruined; the Sonoma Wine Company collapsed, destroying 15 million gallons (57 million liters) of wine. The quake registered 8.3 on the Richter scale and lasted 75 seconds total. Many poorly constructed buildings built on landfills were flattened and the quake destroyed almost all of the gas and water mains. Fires broke out shortly after the quake, and when they were finally eliminated, 3,000 acres of the city, the equivalent of 520 blocks, were charred. Damage was estimated to be $500 million, and many insurance agencies went bankrupt after paying out the claims.

Another large earthquake hit San Francisco on October 17, 1989. It measured 7.1 on the Richter scale, killed 67 people, and caused billions of dollars worth of damage.


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