Search Currents Currents Archives Contact Currents UC Santa Cruz Home Page
Currents Online

Classifieds

Photo: Earthquake's devastationSan Francisco earthquake refugees, with the City Hall in the background, the morning after the April 18, 1906, quake
Photo: R.B. Marshall

March 6, 2006

San Francisco earthquake of 1906 is focus of March 15 lecture

By Tim Stephens

With the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake approaching, UCSC will host a free public talk this month on the earthquake that devastated San Francisco and marked the birth of modern earthquake science.

Photo: Mary Lou Zoback
Mary Lou Zoback is a respected geophysicist recognized for her work on the relationship between earthquakes and the state of stress in the Earth's crust.

Mary Lou Zoback, a senior research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, will speak on "The 1906 Earthquake: Lessons Learned, Lessons Forgotten, and Future Directions" on Wednesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. at the University Inn and Conference Center, 611 Ocean St., in Santa Cruz.

Zoback's talk, sponsored by UCSC's Center for the Study of Imaging and Dynamics of the Earth (CSIDE), is part of the Distinguished Lecture Series of the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology and the Seismological Society of America. CSIDE director Susan Schwartz, professor of Earth sciences and director of the Keck Seismological Laboratory at UCSC, will introduce Zoback.

At the beginning of the 20th century, San Francisco was considered the "most cosmopolitan city outside of New York." But everything changed overnight when the city was violently shaken awake at 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake. The earthquake and resulting firestorm over the next three days left more than 3,000 people dead. In San Francisco alone, 225,000 of the city’s 400,000 citizens were left homeless, and significant damage occurred throughout northern California.

This photo taken on April 18, 1906, shows the extent of the damage in San Francisco.
Photo: H. Degenkolb

The centennial of this major natural disaster affords an opportunity to commemorate the cultural and social response to this historic event and to highlight a century of progress in understanding earthquake hazards and reducing the risks they pose.

The 1906 earthquake on the northern San Andreas Fault prompted an unprecedented scientific investigation. For the first time, the effects and impacts of a major seismic event were systematically studied and documented in a detailed report published in 1908. As earthquake science evolves, reanalysis of the 1906 earthquake data continues to yield new insights about that event and the behavior of large strike-slip faults in general.

Zoback currently serves as the regional coordinator for the USGS Northern California Earthquake Hazard Program. She is a respected geophysicist recognized for her work on the relationship between earthquakes and the state of stress in the Earth's crust. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Zoback has served on numerous national committees and panels and as president of the Geological Society of America. In 1987, she was awarded the American Geophysical Union's Macelwane Award for "significant contributions to the geophysical sciences by a young scientist of outstanding ability." She earned her B.S. and Ph.D. in geophysics from Stanford University.

For more information about the lecture, contact Jennifer Fish at (831) 459-1235.

Email this story
Printer-friendly version
Return to Front Page