NR 2006-09
April 12, 2006

Contact: Ed Wilson
Mark Oldfield
Don Drysdale
(916) 323-1886


SACRAMENTO -- The California Geological Survey’s (CGS) special edition issue of California Geology magazine commemorates the 1906 earthquake centennial anniversary on April 18 using historical accounts and photographs. Scientists and laypeople alike will find something to enjoy in the maps, graphics, and information the issue collects on some of California’s most sizeable quakes going back to 1865.

While the Great San Francisco Earthquake is the main focus – the wrap-around cover is a remarkable oil painting entitled “San Francisco Fire, 1906” by W.A. Coulter – the 72-page publication has something for everyone interested in earthquakes and Earth science.

“I was wakened by the crash of falling furniture, and a rocking, heaving house … I felt very calm, paralyzed perhaps, but I thought, `This is the worst thing I ever knew, and we may be going to be killed …”

Those are the words of Eleanor Watkins, the wife of a San Francisco surgeon and a survivor of the 1906 Great San Francisco Earthquake. Hers is one of the first-hand accounts contained in the special edition issue.

The magazine addresses all of the major earthquakes that have struck Northern California in a series of articles previously published in California Geology. Several Bay Area events – the first “Great San Francisco Earthquake” of 1865, the 1969 Santa Rosa temblor, and the 1984 Morgan Hill quake

(noteworthy for its intense shaking) – are highlighted. So, too, are the Cape Mendocino earthquakes of 1992, the Vacaville-Winters quakes of 1892 and the 1975 Oroville earthquake.

The magazine also includes a section on earthquake basics such as a glossary of commonly used seismology terms, measuring the size of earthquakes, and various earthquake hazards; a feature about the ongoing international scientific efforts to understand the Earth’s movements in Parkfield, the self-proclaimed “Earthquake Capital of the World;” and profiles of CGS’ earthquake programs.

California Geology was published from 1948-2001, but the work of CGS to help ensure public safety -- through the identification of seismic and mineral hazards, the placement and monitoring of seismic instruments, geotechnical advice to government and private entities, and geologic review of potential school and hospital sites – has continued.

“The 1906 earthquake must have been horrific to live through; thousands of people lost their lives and many thousands more quite literally had their worlds turned upside-down,” noted Dr. John Parrish, California State Geologist. “At the same time, the determination, cooperation and endurance of the people who survived and rebuilt the entire Bay Area is inspiring to this day. We think our special edition of California Geology captures some of that spirit.”

To order a copy of the magazine for $10, call (916) 445-5716 or (650) 688-6327, or visit the CGS office in Sacramento (801 K St., 14th floor) or Menlo Park (345 Middlefield Road). CGS also will have copies available at its booths at the 1906 Earthquake and Fire Exposition (April 15-17 at Pier 48) and the 100th Anniversary Conference (April 17-21 at the Moscone Center).