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Home > Get Tech > Get Shakin'! , January, 2007

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Earthquake Resources, January 2007

“In the early 1800s, a series of gargantuan earth tremors seized the American frontier. Tremendous roars and flashes of eerie light accompanied huge spouts of water and gas. Six-foot-high waterfalls appeared in the Mississippi River, thousands of trees exploded, and some 1,500 people – in what was then a sparsely populated wilderness – were killed. A region the size of Texas, centered in Missouri and Arkansas, was rent apart, and the tremors reached as far as Montreal. Forget the 1906 earthquake – this set of quakes constituted the Big One.”

Quoted from The Big One by Jake Page and Charles Officer

Earthquake Science
FACT: The largest recorded earthquake in the world was a magnitude 9.5 in Chile on May 22, 1960.

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Plate Tectonics book image
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Earthquakes by Lassieur book image
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Earthquake Games book image
Below: Photo of a home destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
FACT: The largest recorded earthquake in the United States was a magnitude 9.2 that struck Prince William Sound, Alaska on Good Friday, March 28, 1964.
Photo of a home destroyed in 1906 earthquake
FACT: It is estimated that there are 500,000 detectable earthquakes in the world each year. 100,000 of those can be felt, and 100 of them cause damage.

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FACT: Moonquakes are earthquakes on the moon.
Pt. Reyes road in 1906
A road near Point Reyes, 1906

“In 1964, the great Alaskan earthquake increased the elevation of more than 180,000 square kilometers of landmass on the western coast of North America by as much as 6 meters and caused a tsunami that crossed the entire Pacific. And the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens triggered a pressure wave that was recorded at earthquake stations around the world. After nine terrifying hours, the summit of Mount St. Helens was missing, and a 20-kilometer-high cloud of gas, ashes, and debris darkened the area. Where an almost perfect mountain cone surrounded by forests once stood, a crater 1.5 kilometers in diameter and 1 kilometer deep was all that was left.”

Quoted from The Little Book of Earthquakes and Volcanoes
by Rolf Schick

Earthquake History
FACT: The earliest recorded evidence of an earthquake has been traced back to 1831 BC in the Shandong province of China, but there is a fairly complete record starting in 780 BC during the Zhou Dynasty in China.

The Big One book image

“The great philosopher Aristotle, who was born in 384 B.C., taught that earthquakes were caused by winds blowing into caverns within the planet. When pressure of the trapped air became strong enough, the air escaped forcefully and caused the Earth to tremble. Earlier, another philosopher named Democritus had supposed that hollows within the Earth collected water, and when the water sloshed back and forth, the planet shook.”

Quoted from Plates: Restless Earth by Roy Gallant

FACT: A seiche (pronounced SAYSH) is what happens in the swimming pools of Californians during and after an earthquake. It is "an internal wave oscillating in a body of water" or, in other words, it is the sloshing of the water in your swimming pool, or any body of water, caused by the ground shaking in an earthquake.

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Into the Firestorm book image
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FACT: It is thought that more damage was done by the resulting fire after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake than by the earthquake itself.

1906 photo of Hibernia Bank, San Francisco
1906 Photo of Fallen Statue at Stanford University following the earthquake
Hibernia Bank, San Francisco, 1906
Stanford University, 1906 - Statue fell 30 feet and impaled sidewalk.

Advanced National Seismic System
(United States Geological Survey)
Can Animals Sense Earthquakes?
(National Geographic News)
Disaster Connection - Kids to Kids: Earthquakes
(Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA])
Earthquakes: Things to Learn About - Online Exhibit
(San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation)
Earthquakes for Kids
(United States Geological Survey)
Exploratorium Learning Studio: Earthquakes
(San Francisco Exploratorium)
Images of Historical Earthquakes
(University of California, Berkeley)
Images of the 1906 Earthquake
(San Francisco Public Library)
Understanding Earthquakes
(University of California, Santa Barbara)

1906 Photo of Mission San Juan Bautista damaged by earthquake
1906 Photo of damaged San Francisco City Hall
Mission San Juan Bautista, 1906
Photo of San Francisco City Hall damaged by the 1906 earthquake.

FACT: Florida and North Dakota have the smallest number of earthquakes in the United States. Alaska is the most earthquake-prone state and one of the most seismically active regions in the world. Alaska experiences a magnitude 7 earthquake almost every year, and a magnitude 8 or greater earthquake on average every 14 years.
1906 Photos and earthquake facts courtesy of the United States Geological Survey's Earthquakes for Kids Web Site.