SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The Bay Area was a beehive of seismic activity throughout the 19th century.
From 1838 to 1898, the region was rocked by a half-dozen major earthquakes.
The smallest of them was a 6.3 shock in Santa Cruz.
Then early in the morning of April 18, 1906, San Francisco was shook by the biggest earthquake ever recorded in the state.
A magnitude 7.9 tremor triggered fires that devastated 80 percent of the city.
As many as 3,000 people died and two-thirds of the population was left homeless.
It would be fifty years before the earth moved again.
1957 brought San Francisco’s “Forgotten Quake.”
The city rocked for 30 seconds.
One person was killed, 40 were injured but the damage was minimal and largely confined to Westwood Village in the western part of the city.
In 1984, the Calaveras Fault came to life.
The epicenter of the 6.2 magnitude quake was 10 miles north of San Jose but the town of Morgan Hill suffered the greatest damage.
Five years later, the Loma Prieta quake revealed the scope of the Bay Area’s vulnerability.
The Bay Bridge damage paled by comparison too the collapsed Nimitz Freeway in the East Bay.
Forty-two people were crushed in their cars.
San Francisco’s Marina District, built on a landfill from the 1906 quake, suffered catastrophic liquification as homes collapsed and gas lines ignited.
At 3 a.m. on Aug. 24, 2014, the Bay Area’s biggest jolt of the 21st century hit Napa County.
The quake took a heavy toll on vineyards as well as Napa’s historic buildings.
Many of them suffered heavy damage even though they had undergone seismic retrofitting.
- Watch KRON4’s Earthquake Special: Surviving The Big One
- How federal agencies would respond during an earthquake
- Could a tsunami happen in the Bay Area?
- Emergency supplies to pack ahead of an earthquake
- Interactive Calculator: How much is earthquake insurance for your home?