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The destructive power of earthquakes

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

The Destructive Power of Earthquakes_HERO

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April 18, 1906: San Francisco

The great San Francisco earthquake produced a surface rupture some 300 kilometers long. But most of the damage occurred when wooden buildings in the city caught fire after the shaking had stopped. This happened before building codes required fireproofing and structural stability.

April 1, 1946: Hilo, Hawaii

Tsunamis are large waves caused by sudden vertical movements of the seafloor. They travel across the open ocean as fast as 700 kilometers per hour. When they reach shallow water, they slow down and can build up to over