The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a major earthquake that struck San Francisco and the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. Devastating fires broke out in the city and lasted for several days. As a result of the quake and fires, about 3,000 people died and over 80% of San Francisco was destroyed.
At the time, 375 deaths were reported. That figure was fabricated by government officials who felt that reporting the true death toll would hurt real estate prices and efforts to rebuild the city. Hundreds of fatalities in Chinatown went ignored and unrecorded; that number is still uncertain today, and is estimated to be roughly 3,000 at minimum. Most of the deaths occurred in San Francisco itself, but 189 were reported elsewhere in the Bay Area; nearby cities, such as Santa Rosa and San Jose also suffered severe damage. In Monterey County, the earthquake permanently shifted the course of the Salinas River near its mouth. Where previously the river emptied into Monterey Bay between Moss Landing and Watsonville, it was diverted 6 miles south to a new outlet just north of Marina.
The origins of the fault can be traced back to the subduction of a spreading ridge 30 million years ago, although the most significant (Southern) segment only dates back about 5 million years. The fault was first identified in the Northern zone by the UC Berkeley geology professor Andrew Lawson in 1895. After the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Lawson discovered that it extended into southern California, and Thomas Dibblee’s assertion in 1953 that it ran for hundreds of miles took the scientific establishment by surprise.
Speculation about ‘the next big one’ is the subject of formal study at the University of California, and the San Andreas Fault at Depth (SAFOD) is drilling deep into the fault, to improve recording and prediction of quakes.
Erupting volcanoes can pose many hazards, not only in the immediate vicinity of the eruption. Volcanic ash can be a threat to aircraft, in particular those with jet engines where ash particles can be melted by the high operating temperature; the melted particles then adhere to the turbine blades and alter their shape, disrupting the operation of the turbine. Large eruptions can affect temperature as ash and droplets of sulfuric acid obscure the sun and cool the Earth's lower atmosphere or troposphere; however, they also absorb heat radiated up from the Earth, thereby warming the stratosphere. Historically, so-called volcanic winters have caused catastrophic famines.
During his lifetime he was primarily known for his achievements in meteorology and as a pioneer of polar research, but today he is most remembered for advancing the theory of continental drift (Kontinentalverschiebung) in 1912, which hypothesized that the continents were slowly drifting around the Earth. His hypothesis was controversial and not widely accepted until the 1950s, when numerous discoveries such as palaeomagnetism provided strong support for continental drift, and thereby a substantial basis for today's model of Plate tectonics. Wegener was involved in several expeditions to Greenland to study polar air circulation before the existence of the jet stream was accepted. Expedition participants made many meteorological observations and achieved the first-ever overwintering on the inland Greenland ice sheet as well as the first-ever boring of ice cores on a moving Arctic glacier.
On November 1, 1880, Alfred Wegener was born in Berlin as the youngest of five children in a clergyman's family. His father, Richard Wegener, was a theologian and teacher of classical languages at the Berlinisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster. In 1886 his family purchased a former manor house near Rheinsberg, which they used as a vacation home. Today there is an Alfred Wegener Memorial site and tourist information office in a nearby building that was once the local schoolhouse.
Three weeks before the actual eruption, rumbling noises that resembled thunder were heard by people near Parícutin village. These were actually deep earthquakes. The volcano began as a fissure in a cornfield owned by a P'urhépecha farmer, Dionisio Pulido, on February 20, 1943. He and his wife witnessed the initial eruption of ash and stones first-hand: "Dionisio Pulido and his wife Paula were burning shrubbery in their cornfield." The volcano grew quickly, reaching five stories tall in just a week, and it could be seen from afar in a month. Much of the volcano's growth occurred during its first year, while it was still in the explosive pyroclastic phase. The nearby villages Parícutin (after which the volcano was named) and San Juan Parangaricutiro were both buried in lava and ash; the residents relocated to vacant land nearby.
At the end of this phase, after roughly one year, the volcano had grown 336 metres (1,102 feet) tall. For the next eight years the volcano continued erupting, although this was dominated by relatively quiet eruptions of lava that scorched the surrounding 25 square kilometres (9.7 square miles; 6,200 acres) of land. The volcano's activity slowly declined during this period until the last six months of the eruption, during which violent and explosive activity was frequent. In 1952, the eruption ended and Parícutin went quiet, attaining a final height of 424 metres (1,391 feet) above the cornfield where it began. The volcano has been quiet since then. Like most cinder cones, Parícutin is believed to be a monogenetic volcano, which means that once it has finished erupting, it will never erupt again. Any new eruptions in a monogenetic volcanic field erupt in a new location.
Conventionally, "continents are understood to be large, continuous, discrete masses of land, ideally separated by expanses of water." Many of the seven most commonly recognized continents identified by convention are not discrete landmasses separated by water. The criterion "large" leads to arbitrary classification: Greenland, with a surface area of 2,166,086 square kilometres (836,330 sq mi) is considered the world's largest island, while Australia, at 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq mi) is deemed to be a continent. Likewise, the ideal criterion that each be a continuous landmass is often disregarded by the inclusion of the continental shelf and oceanic islands, and contradicted by classifying North and South America as two continents; and/or Eurasia and Africa as two continents, with no natural separation by water. This anomaly reaches its extreme if the continuous land mass of Europe and Asia is considered to constitute two continents. The Earth's major landmasses are washed upon by a single, continuous world ocean, which is divided into a number of principal oceanic components by the continents and various geographic criteria. Continents are sometimes extended beyond the major landmasses, in a way that every bit of land on earth is included in a continent.
Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team ...
An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth'scrust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time.
Earthquakes are measured using observations from seismometers. The moment magnitude is the most common scale on which earthquakes larger than approximately 5 are reported for the entire globe. The more numerous earthquakes smaller than magnitude 5 reported by national seismological observatories are measured mostly on the local magnitude scale, also referred to as the Richter scale. These two scales are numerically similar over their range of validity. Magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes are mostly almost imperceptible or weak and magnitude 7 and over potentially cause serious damage over larger areas, depending on their depth. The largest earthquakes in historic times have been of magnitude slightly over 9, although there is no limit to the possible magnitude. The most recent large earthquake of magnitude 9.0 or larger was a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan in 2011 (as of October 2012), and it was the largest Japanese earthquake since records began. Intensity of shaking is measured on the modified Mercalli scale. The shallower an earthquake, the more damage to structures it causes, all else being equal.
At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. When the epicenter of a large earthquake is located offshore, the seabed may be displaced sufficiently to cause a tsunami. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides, and occasionally volcanic activity.
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