When the trembling stops, the disaster is only the beginning.
  • 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. 
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    bay Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: bay
    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.

    peninsula Noun

    piece of land jutting into a body of water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: peninsula
    rupture Verb

    to break or tear.

    temblor Noun


    West Coast Noun

    Pacific coast of the United States, usually excluding Alaska.