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Date The Earthquake that occurred in San Francisco in 1906 and the fires that resulted from it is a great part of history that will be for long remembered as the most devastating natural disaster in the history of America. The magnitude of the earth quake was estimated to have been 7.9 (Mw). The main quake had occurred about two miles from San Francisco, near Mussel rock rupturing along San Andreas extending southwards and northwards for a distance of 296 miles (Burgan 37). The earthquake and the resulting fire were accompanied by a lot of destruction of property with the death toll estimating at around three thousands people which translated to the highest form of life loss from natural disaster in the history of California.
A lot of property was destroyed as walls of buildings caved in, with the chimneys falling as well as the gas lines breaking. The streets were piled up with the Asphalt that had covered it after it buckled. Since it was in the morning most of the people who died did not even have the time to move out of bed since falling debris found them in bed (Burgan 48). After the earthquake which thrived for about sixty seconds houses were covered in fire from gas lines that had ruptured and stoves that fell out during the earthquake. The earthquake left most of the water mains broken making it almost impossible to put out the fire leaving a great amounts of property damaged.
The earthquake and its resulting fire left an outstanding impression on California’s economic development. Before the disaster struck, the city of San Francisco was ranking as ninth largest in the whole of the United States and top largest in the West Coast with a population estimate of about four hundred and ten. It was considered the trade, cultural and financial center in the whole of the west coast as it was the ‘gateway to the pacific’ with its port being the busiest and hence was a major contributor to the growing United States military and economic power (Morris 89). The earth quake that destroyed over eighty percent of the city led to a great diversion of population, industry and trade growth which shifted to Los Angeles which later emerged the most important and largest city in the West Coast. In addition to this, the city lost a large number of leading writers and poets who went to Carmel where they staged a colony of arts whose legacy stands out even today.
The earthquake cost a lot of people their lives with the largest number of dead people being registered in San Francisco though this extended to other neighboring cities like San Jose and Santa Rosa. Most of those who were Lucky were lucky to survive the earthquake ended up homeless with most of the evacuee fleeing to Berkeley and Oakland (Morris 104). An estimate of about three hundred thousand people was rendered homeless out of the four hundred and ten thousand people comprising three. The quake diverted the course of Salinas River in Monterey permanently. While the river initially emptied its waters into Monterey bay its course was shifted six miles south creating a new outlet in northern Marina.
Since the aftermath of the 1906 great San Francisco earthquake scientists have established many studies in order to try and reduce the power of the earthquakes so as to regulate the amount of the damage they cause. Scientists and the public in general were prompted to realizing the need to have a clear understanding of the dynamic and potentially dangerous nature of seismic processes of the earth. Scientist began immediate research on the displaced ground that extended on San Andreas Fault.
From the efforts that were recollected after the analysis of the fault, scientists have carried out studies ranging from analyzing earthquake effects to making discoveries on the dynamic processes that are associated with plate tectonics. Developments have been reached in assessing the probabilities in occurrences of earthquake hazards which has led to installation of sophisticated instruments inside the San Andreas Fault (Godschalk 23). For instance, to try and reduce frictions between two plates that collide scientists injected water through a fault to occupy the space between gliding plates. The water was used as a lubricant to the fault in order to let the pieces jerk free which produces a number of minimal quakes which prevents the occurrence of a large tremor.
The methods of monitoring earthquakes have been improved from ancient methods of utilizing compasses and tape measures in the analysis of reports regarding earthquake activities. To replace this, global series of seismographs, computers and satellites that detect and reports on earthquake activity have been installed to make 24 hours instantaneous reports (Godschalk 44). These instruments reflect any dangerous shifts towards certain sides of a fault. Some have also enhanced detection of accumulation of certain gasses that can prophesy an earthquake.
Science based research assessments and monitoring have been used as the basis for the formulation of building codes which promote construction of infrastructure and buildings that are earthquake resilient. For instance since during the reconstruction phase of California architects emphasized on the need to construction of earthquake proof structures built on rock rather than on clay or soft sand. Larger buildings were constructed using strong steel frameworks or utilizing concrete reinforcement to make them firm enough to stand ground shakes. An example of such kind of building design was the one that was used in the construction of the Transamerica pyramid shaped building in San Francisco (Godschalk 74).
Online services have installed shake maps which graphically demonstrate the divergent degrees of earthquake shakes to be utilized by teams responding to earthquake emergencies to enhance deployment of resources to hardest hit areas. Partnerships through out the world have been established between non government and government scientists, organizations and academia with the intention of delving deeper into earthquake causes. The USGS (United States Geological Survey) website has been established as an approach that is citizen based to help define the magnitudes of earthquake shakings in areas where dense instrumentation has not been installed (Godschalk 77).
The above established methods that scientist have discovered have been very useful in mitigation of probable earthquakes. The advanced instrumentation has been able to detect even the slightest changes in seismic activities and therefore people have been warned in advance over the probability of earthquake occurrences. Relying on this instruments people are evacuated in advance from areas that are detected to have the probability of being hardest hit therefore reducing there number of human life loss. Earthquakes cannot be entirely prevented but measures can be established to mitigate the amount of damage that might result from such kinds of hazards.