Tsunami Record from the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

A moving illustration shows how waves develop, grow, and move in and around a bay near the ocean following an earthquake.

Detailed Description

Silent, hypothetical, hydrodynamic model animation of the tsunami caused by the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, showing the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Three observations are apparent from hydrodynamic modeling of this tsunami:

  1. the tsunami propagated from the source region to the Golden Gate as a trapped wave—in other words, a particular class of waves that propagate parallel to the shoreline;
  2. trapped waves generated by this earthquake were reflected and scattered, resulting in the 40-45 minute period oscillations apparent on the tide gauge record; and
  3. relatively little wave energy is transmitted through the Golden Gate to San Francisco Bay.


Image Dimensions: 440 x 490

Location Taken: San Francisco, CA, US


Animation developed by Eric Geist, USGS