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The 1900's
Earthquakes
The San Francisco Earthquake



The San Francisco Earthquake
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.43

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    foreshock, well-constructed, poorly, destruction, homeless, temporary, trapped, entire, death, rebuild, natural, weakness, immediately, region, destructive, public
     content words:    Los Angeles, Richter Scale, San Francisco, San Andreas Fault, Andreas Fault, San Francisco Bay, United States Army


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The San Francisco Earthquake
By Jane Runyon
  

1     People from as far north as Oregon could feel it. People from as far south as Los Angeles could feel it. People from as far east as Nevada could feel it. What they felt was the earth trembling on the morning of April 18, 1906. The earthquake measured somewhere near 8.0 on the Richter scale.
 
2     Scientists devised the Richter Scale to help define just how powerful earthquakes are. An earthquake which measures less than 3.5 is generally not even felt by people. A quake that measures 3.5 to 5.4 will probably be felt, but it will do little damage. If the quake measures 5.5 to 6.0, you will probably see slight damage to well-constructed buildings and much more damage to poorly constructed buildings. Now we start getting into major earthquakes. A quake measuring 6.1 to 6.9 will cause destruction over an area with a 100 kilometer diameter. A 7.0 to 7.9 earthquake will cause severe damage over a large area. Any earthquake 8.0 or larger is considered to be the most destructive. It will cause severe damage over an area of several hundred square kilometers.
 
3     The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 struck very early in the morning. The first rumble, called a foreshock, occurred about 5:11 a.m. right along the San Andreas Fault. The San Andreas Fault is a crack in the earth that runs about 800 miles through California. The weakness caused by this crack is a main reason earthquakes occur in the California region. The main quake occurred at 5:12 a.m. and lasted for almost a minute. The center of the quake was just outside of San Francisco proper. Buildings began to crumble immediately. The streets weren't as crowded as they would have been later in the day. Those who were on their way to work were crushed by the rain of falling brick.

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