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Timewatch: San Francisco's great quake

Updated Wednesday, 18th January 2006

April 18th, 1906: The greatest natural disaster ever faced by the United States: San Francisco's great quake.

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Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 struck early on the morning of April 18. As the ground shook, buildings sunk into the ground, and men, women and children were swallowed into the earth. But the earthquake was only the beginning. The quake sparked a terrifying wall of fire that consumed much of the city, triggering astonishing acts of incompetence, mercy and valor.

This is a tale of greed and corruption, ignored warnings, and heroism – all told through first-hand accounts and photographs of survivors. At the time, 487 deaths were recorded. Only now, as we approach the centenary of the disaster, is the true scale of the catastrophe becoming apparent. Painstaking detective work has revealed the true scale of the disaster – over six thousand deaths – making it the greatest natural disaster in American history.





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