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The San Francisco Earthquake. By Michael MacCallum. Summary. Took place on Wednesday, 18 April, 1906. It was 5:12am. The earthquake and fires killed 3,000 people . 80% of San Francisco was destroyed. Fires and aftershocks lasted for several days.

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the san francisco earthquake

The San Francisco Earthquake

By Michael MacCallum

summary
Summary

Took place on Wednesday, 18 April, 1906.

It was 5:12am.

The earthquake and fires killed 3,000 people .

80% of San Francisco was destroyed.

Fires and aftershocks lasted for several days.

The overall cost of the damage from the earthquake was estimated at the time to be around US $400 million ($8.2 billion in 2009 dollars).

effect
Effect

At the time of the earthquake there was only 375 reported fatalities.

Between 227,000 and 300,000 people were left homeless out of a population of about 410,000.

Anyone that actually did evacuate went to Oakland or Berkley.

It affected trade and business because San Francisco had become the ninth largest city in the USA and a centre of trade and business.

Many deaths in Chinatown were ignored and not recorded.

San Francisco was not the only city that was damaged. Others include San Jose and Santa Rosa.

the earthquake
The Earthquake

It was accepted to be of magnitude of 7.7.

Though this was a moment magnitude and it is thought to have ranged up to 8.25.

It occurred on the San Andreas fault line.

The San Andreas fault line is about 810 miles long (1,300km)

Forms the plate boundary of the Pacific plate and the North American Plate.

fires
Fires

Though many people purposely set fire to their damaged houses because their insurance would not cover damage from an earthquake but it would cover fire damage.

The earthquake caused fires that continued for several days after.

These fires caused 90% of the overall damage.

Over 30 fires, caused by ruptured gas mains, destroyed approximately 25,000 buildings.

Many were started by firemen who weren’t trained with dynamite. This caused 50% of buildings that may have survived to be destroyed.

The “Ham and Eggs Fire” was caused by a woman cooking breakfast for her family.

relocation
Relocation

5,610 temporary houses were built by the army for homeless people.

Each house was rented out for two dollars per month until reconstruction was completed.

The houses could only hold twenty thousand people.

Each was placed close to the neighbour and painted olive drab.

Spread over eleven camps.

Newspapers had described at the time Golden Gate Park and many beaches between Ingleside and North beach as being populated with tents. These refugee camps were still active two years after.