Problem 19 The 1906 earthquake in San Franc... [FREE SOLUTION] (2024)

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Chapter 3: Problem 19

The 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, California, which killed 3,425 people, was classified as an X on the modified Mercalli scale. The 1964 Alaskan earthquake, which killed 143 people, was classified as an XI on the modified Mercalli scale. This means that the Alaskan earthquake was structurally destructive than was the San Francisco earthquake.

Short Answer

Expert verified

The Alaskan earthquake was more structurally destructive than the San Francisco earthquake.

Step by step solution


Understand the Modified Mercalli Scale

The Modified Mercalli Scale (MMI) measures the intensity of an earthquake. Each level of intensity, represented by Roman numerals, describes the impacts on people, buildings, and the earth's surface.


Identify Intensity Ratings

San Francisco 1906 earthquake: Intensity X.Alaskan 1964 earthquake: Intensity XI.


Compare Intensity Levels

Compare the Roman numerals X (10) and XI (11). The higher the numeral, the more severe the structural damage described.


Interpret the Comparison

Since XI is greater than X, the Alaskan earthquake was more structurally destructive than the San Francisco earthquake.

Key Concepts

These are the key concepts you need to understand to accurately answer the question.

Earthquake Intensity

The concept of earthquake intensity is key to understanding how different earthquakes affect regions. The Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale is commonly used to gauge this intensity. Unlike the Richter scale, which measures an earthquake's magnitude, the MMI scale focuses on the effects and damage caused by the quake. This scale ranges from I (barely felt) to XII (total destruction). For instance, the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 with an intensity of X means significant damage and great panic among people. Compare that to the Alaskan earthquake of 1964 with an intensity of XI, which implies even more severe damage and destruction.

Structural Damage

Structural damage during an earthquake varies significantly based on the intensity of the quake. Buildings, bridges, and other structures suffer more severe damage as the intensity increases. On the MMI scale, each increment represents a notable increase in destructive power. For example, at level X, expect heavy damage to well-built structures and severe damage to poorly built ones. At level XI, the damage extends further, causing nearly all buildings to suffer structural failures, if not outright collapse. Hence, the 1964 Alaskan earthquake being rated XI indicates more extensive and severe destruction compared to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake rated X.

Comparative Analysis

When conducting a comparative analysis between two earthquakes, looking at the intensity ratings provides valuable insights into the relative damage caused. The Modified Mercalli Scale allows us to make informed comparisons by translating the seismic activity into observable effects. For instance, by comparing the 1906 and 1964 earthquakes, we see that the latter had a higher intensity rating (XI vs. X). This directly correlates to more extensive structural damage and a broader impact area for the Alaskan earthquake compared to the San Francisco one. Therefore, while the number of fatalities was higher in San Francisco, the MMI rating indicates the overall destructiveness was greater in Alaska.

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Problem 19 The 1906 earthquake in San Franc... [FREE SOLUTION] (3)

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Problem 19 The 1906 earthquake in San Franc... [FREE SOLUTION] (2024)


What was the response to the San Francisco earthquake in 1906? ›

Army troops stationed at the Presidio, now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, responded within hours. They maintained order, fought fires, established communications, gave medical treatment, and provided food, shelter and sanitation.

What damage was caused by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake? ›

The inferno destroyed some 28,000 buildings, and the total property value loss was estimated at $350 million. Some 700 people originally were thought to have died in the disaster, but the death toll is now believed to have exceeded 3,000.

What was the 1906 San Francisco earthquake for 5th graders? ›

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was a big earthquake that hit San Francisco on April 18, 1906. It was felt from Los Angeles to Oregon and Nevada. The earthquake was about a 7.8 on the Richter scale. Around 3,000 people were killed and between 227,000 and 300,000 people were left homeless.

What fault group of answer choices did the 1906 San Francisco earthquake occur along? ›

5:12 AM - April 18, 1906

Rupturing the northernmost 296 miles (477 kilometers) of the San Andreas fault from northwest of San Juan Bautista to the triple junction at Cape Mendocino, the earthquake confounded contemporary geologists with its large, horizontal displacements and great rupture length.

How did San Francisco recover from the 1906 earthquake? ›

Despite its utter devastation, San Francisco quickly recovered thanks to the help of some mighty machinery. Considered modern technology at the time, steam-powered equipment helped clean up the mess caused by the quake.

What was the worst earthquake in history? ›

1 – Valdivia, Chile, 1960

The biggest earthquake ever recorded occurred in 1960 near the city of Valdivia, Chile. With a magnitude of 9.5, it was one of the deadliest earthquakes in history, killing an estimated 5,700. The quake struck at around 15:00 local time and lasted for 10 minutes.

Could the 1906 earthquake happen again? ›

Based on models taking into account the long-term rate of slip on the San Andreas fault and the amount of offset that occurred on the fault in 1906, the best guess is that 1906-type earthquakes occur at intervals of about 200 years.

Why was the 1906 earthquake so devastating? ›

Fires. As damaging as the earthquake and its aftershocks were, the fires that burned out of control afterward were far more destructive. It has been estimated that up to 90% of the total destruction was the result of the subsequent fires.

Was there any warning before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake? ›

Answer and Explanation: There was no significant warning before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The only notice of a potentially large seismic event was a foreshock that occurred only 20 to 25 seconds before the major earthquake hit.

Is anyone still alive from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake? ›

Del Monte was the last known survivor of the 7.8-magnitude quake and fires that killed some 3,000 people and leveled much of the city. He died of natural causes Monday at a retirement home north of San Francisco. He was 109.

Why is the 1906 earthquake important? ›

The 1906 earthquake and the Lawson report demonstrated the importance of accurate, widespread and repeated observations of earthquakes, their effects, and the faults on which they occur. The report provided the basis for much of what is now known about earthquakes in California.

What are three facts about the San Francisco earthquake? ›

At 5:12 a.m on April 18, 1906, one of the most significant earthquakes in history rocked the city of San Francisco. It caused 3,000 deaths, left 225,000 homeless and caused $400 million in damages. Thanks to relief efforts and motivation to rebuild, the city celebrated its reconstruction less than 10 years later.

What was the damage of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906? ›

Buildings Destroyed - 28,000

By one count: Wood buildings lost = 24,671 (photo) Brick buildings lost = 3,168 (photos) Total buildings lost = 28,188 (photos)

What is the biggest earthquake ever recorded? ›

On May 22, 1960 a great Mw 9.5 earthquake, the largest earthquake ever instrumentally recorded, occurred off the coast of southern Chile. This earthquake generated a tsunami that was destructive not only along the coast of Chile, but also across the Pacific in Hawaii, Japan, and the Philippines.

How long did the 1906 earthquake last? ›

On the morning of April 18, 1906, a massive earthquake shook San Francisco, California. Though the quake lasted less than a minute, its immediate impact was disastrous. The earthquake also ignited several fires around the city that burned for three days and destroyed nearly 500 city blocks.

What happened to San Francisco after the earthquake? ›

Over 80% of the city was destroyed by the earthquake and fire. Though San Francisco rebuilt quickly, the disaster diverted trade, industry, and population growth south to Los Angeles, which during the 20th century became the largest and most important urban area in the West.

What percent of San Francisco was wiped out during the 1906 earthquake? ›

San Francisco was hardest hit, with more than 80 percent of the city's buildings destroyed and approximately 3,000 killed from collapsed buildings, falling debris, and the fires that followed. As many as 225,000 people—more than half the city's population—became homeless.

How many died in the San Francisco 1906 earthquake? ›

The quake and resulting fire were one of the worst natural disasters in California. The death toll is estimated at over 3,000 people. After the earthquake, about 200,000 people were left homeless. Thousands camped at city parks in tents supplied by the Army.

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