This 36-page special edition of People, Land & Water commemorates the
1906 Earthquake, documents the birth and growth of earthquake science in the
United States and demonstrates how this science is used to help safeguard communities.
(The following stories and information on this page may require Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Table of Contents (PDF - 215 k)
Front cover design (PDF - 287 k)
Back cover design (PDF - 131 k)
|The 1906 Earthquake — The Birth of Earthquake Science|
Moment of Magnitude for America and for Science (PDF -
Responds to the 1906 Earthquake (PDF - 319 k)
In 1906, the only permanent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) office in California was the Pacific Region Topographic Mapping Office in Sacramento, some 70 miles up the Sacramento River from San Francisco Bay. The office had been established just three years earlier and was the only USGS office ever created for the sole function of topographic mapping. On April 18, 1906, many of the USGS topographers were in Sacramento preparing for summer fieldwork. It was that day that the great earthquake struck.
Letter Home and a Look Back in Time (PDF - 384 k)
Firsthand accounts from survivors
Shaky Past (PDF - 466 k)
The Top 18 Earthquake Events in the United States Since 1700.
Technology Evolves into the 21st Century (PDF - 156 k)
of the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program (PDF - 223 k)
Scientific study of earthquakes in the United States arose from three seismic events that occurred in the eastern, central,
and western parts of the country beginning in the early 1800s.
|The People Who Make Earthquake Science Interesting|
a Bow (PDF - 124 k)
Globally but Guiding the Local Message for the 1906 Centennial (PDF
- 360 k)
Mary Lou Zoback guides the 1906 Earthquake commemoration.
a Safer Southern California - A Profile of Lucy Jones (PDF
- 143 k)
Lucy Jones, chief scientist of the Earthquake Hazards Program in Southern California, is truly a household name and the face of the USGS in Southern California.
|What it's Like
to be an Earthquake Scientist - Talking with USGS Geophysicist Ross
Stein (PDF - 157 k)
In a field where the work is critical to saving lives, earthquake scientists often operate at a dizzying pace, collaborating with partners around the world as they try to solve the many mysteries of the Earth’s processes. And just when they least expect it, they are thrown into the public spotlight, expected to respond to the fear and confusion that inevitably follow natural disasters with answers they may or may not have. It is tough, challenging work; but for most, the rewards of scientific discovery and knowing that they are giving something back to society make it all worthwhile.
Scientists—A Nationwide Notion
of Pride (PDF - 604 k)
Planet—Special Poster Pullout (PDF - 886 k)
Special poster pullout featuring the front of the USGS map, "This Dynamic Planet."
|The Present and Future of Earthquake Science|
USGS National Earthquake Information Center (PDF - 293
Advanced National Seismic System: A Sure Bet for a Shaky Nation (PDF
- 209 k)
If you were to learn that in 1886, a major U.S. city was ravaged by a magnitude-7.3 earthquake in which 60 people were killed and millions of dollars of damage done, where would you guess it had happened— Los Angeles? San Francisco? Anchorage? Try Charleston, S.C.
Safer: How Decades of Earth Science is Helping to Reduce the Biggest
Earthquake Vulnerability—Man-Made Structures (PDF
- 212 k)
On October 17, 1989, occupants of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco were unnerved as the building started to shake. Sixty miles away, in the forest of Nisene Marks State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Loma Prieta earthquake had struck with a magnitude of 6.9.
Just a California Thing: Why Earthquakes in the Eastern and Central
United States could be a Bigger Problem than You Think (PDF -
Scientists estimate that Memphis has a 25 to 40 percent probability of a magnitude-6.0 or greater earthquake during the next 50 years.
Seismic Science into the Third Dimension (PDF - 147 k)
3D Models Help Predict Shaking Vulnerability in Your Neighborhood
Guidebook to the San Andreas: Geology Fieldtrips on the World's
Most Famous Fault (PDF - 391 k)
When Philip W. Stoffer, geologist for the USGS in Menlo Park, Calif., learned he had lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph system, in 2004, he was not sure if he was going to live. The statistics for surviving were grim. He knew he had to do whatever he could to try to survive.
You Feel It? Citizen Science Goes Seismic (PDF - 190 k)
Have you ever been through an earthquake? Did you know that reporting your experience during an earthquake can help save lives and property during future quakes? As a result of work by USGS with the cooperation of various regional seismic networks, the world can log in on the Internet and tell USGS scientists what they felt during an earthquake.
Profusion of Products and Events for the 1906 Earthquake Centennial (PDF
- 109 k)
The U.S. Geological Survey is involved with a number of products and several events commemorating the 1906 centennial.
Reaction: Earthquakes that Trigger Other Natural Hazards (PDF
- 150 k)
Basics: The Fundamentals and Terminology of Earthquake Science (PDF
- 162 k)
An earthquake is a sudden movement of the Earth's crust caused by the abrupt release of pressure that has accumulated over a long time.
it all in Slide — How the Trans-Alaska
Pipeline Survived a Big One (PDF - 195 k)
The Nov. 3, 2002, magnitude-7.9 central Alaska earthquake was one of the largest recorded earthquakes in our nation's history.
Magnitude — What Do the Numbers Mean? (PDF - 139 k)
Often two or more different magnitudes are reported for the same earthquake. Sometimes, years after an earthquake occurs, the magnitude is adjusted. Although this can cause some confusion in news reports, for the public and among scientists, there are good reasons for these adjustments.
10 Things Northern Californians Should Do to Prepare for the Next Big
Earthquake (PDF - 116 k)
The people, businesses and government agencies in Northern California will risk suffering loss of life and structural and financial damage when major earthquakes strike. Scientists, engineers and emergency-management experts gathering for the 100th Anniversary Earthquake Conference call on the
region’s citizens, businesses and governments to take the following actions to increase safety, reduce losses and ensure a speedier
of Aftershock Hazard Maps Show Daily Shaking Probability (PDF
- 135 k)
In the course of a day, the probability for moderate-to-strong earthquake shaking in California is between 1-in-10,000 and 1-in-100,000. That isn't very high when you consider that the average American has a one-in-2,500 chance of being in a car accident in the same period of time. However, there are times when the likelihood of experiencing earthquake shaking goes up considerably. The USGS 24-hour forecast of aftershock hazard maps show Californians when and where the risk is elevated.
Down Roots in Earthquake Country: Are You Prepared for "The
Big One"? (PDF - 211 k)
Earthquakes are scary because they are largely unpredictable. We don’t know exactly when, where or with how much force they are going to strike, but we do know they will strike again.