A Great Quake Coming?

The 100th anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake is a reminder that future quakes could cause even more damage.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM April 14, 2006

Everyone who lives in San Francisco knows that earthquakes are common in the Bay Area—and they can be devastating. One hundred years ago this month, for example, a major quake destroyed about 28,000 buildings and killed hundreds, perhaps thousands of people. The ground shook for nearly a minute, and buildings burst into flame. The fires burned for days.

After the San Francisco quake of 1906, residents could only stand by as fires, often fueled by broken gas lines, devastated the city. Fractured water mains hampered firefighters, so flames spread for 3 days after the quake.

After the San Francisco quake of 1906, residents could only stand by as fires, often fueled by broken gas lines, devastated the city. Fractur...

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