On April 18, 1906, an earthquake struck near San Francisco, California, then the largest city on the West Coast. The earthquake occurred offshore, at an outcropping called Mussel Rock, at little after 5:00 a.m. Tremors were felt from Oregon to Los Angeles, and inland toward Nevada. The exact magnitude of the earthquake is disputed, but the most common estimate is about 7.9—a very damaging temblor.
 
Fires immediately broke out in San Francisco due to broken gas lines, fallen power lines, and lanterns that had toppled over during the earthquake. Water lines were ruptured as well, which made it difficult to put the fires out. It is estimated that 3,000 people were killed during the earthquake and its aftershocks, which lasted for days. The earthquake displaced even more people from their homes.
 
The earthquake occurred as a result of a shift along the San Andreas Fault, which bisects the San Francisco Peninsula just to the west of the city. The land on the eastern side of the fault, including the city and San Francisco Bay, moved southward, while the land on the western side was pushed northward. More than 6 meters (20 feet) of displacement occurred during the quake. 
Noun

body of water partially surrounded by land, usually with a wide mouth to a larger body of water.

bisect
Verb

to cut in half or divide equally in two.

city
Noun

large settlement with a high population density.

displace
Verb

to remove or force to evacuate.

displacement
Noun

forced removal of something, often people or organisms, from their communities or original space.

dispute
Noun

debate or argument.

earthquake
Noun

the sudden shaking of Earth's crust caused by the release of energy along fault lines or from volcanic activity.

estimate
Verb

to guess based on knowledge of the situation or object.

fault
Noun

a crack in the Earth's crust where there has been movement.

gas
Noun

state of matter with no fixed shape that will fill any container uniformly. Gas molecules are in constant, random motion.

immediately
Adverb

at once or quickly.

magnitude
Noun

intensity of an earthquake, represented by numbers on a scale.

offshore
Adjective

having to do with facilities or resources located underwater, usually miles from the coast.

outcropping
Noun

layer of rock visible above the surface of the Earth.

Noun

piece of land jutting into a body of water.

rupture
Verb

to break or tear.

temblor
Noun

earthquake.

West Coast
Noun

Pacific coast of the United States, usually excluding Alaska.