Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Earthquake’ Category

10/17/1989: An earthquake hits the San Francisco, killing 67 and causing more than $5 billion in damages.

History Channel

“…..Forty-one of the 67 victims of this disaster were motorists on the lower level of the Nimitz, who were killed when the upper level of the road collapsed and crushed them in their cars……”

10/8/2005: A 7.6M earthquake strikes the Kashmir border region between India and Pakistan killing ~ 70,000, injuring 70,000 more, and rendering more than 3 million homeless and without food and basic supplies.


In little more than half a century, Sulawesi has endured dozens of earthquakes, landslides, floods, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.


  • “….At least 1,649 people have been confirmed killed by the twin natural disasters on Sept. 28. Many more are believed to have died, been buried under soil, swept away by waves or trapped in a tangle of crushed buildings that will take months, if not years, to clear.….”

5.9M quake shakes Haiti

Sunday Express

DYFI intensity map

Estimated Fatalities Histogram

Estimated Economic Losses Histogram



The Hayward Fault: More dangerous than the San Andreas fault?

LA Times

“…..A landmark report by the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that at least 800 people could be killed and 18,000 more injured in a hypothetical magnitude 7 earthquake on the Hayward fault centered below Oakland…..”


region map

Map View

Thumbnail of animation

The detailed, perspective views show the ground shaking from a viewpoint two miles (three kilometers) above the earth looking towards each location. In each movie the left panel shows a map view of the area with the fault highlighted in red, the epicenter (location where the rupture starts) identified by the red ball, and the location shown in the right panel labeled in yellow. In the right panel the deformation of the ground associated with the propagation of the seismic waves is exaggerated by a factor of 1000. The topography has been exaggerated by a factor of four to make the hills and mountains more readily visible.

Click on the map to view the normal resolution movie for that location. HD versions are available below.

The ground moves about 6-12 inches (0.2-0.3 m) at locations close to the fault. The ground also moves about 12 inches (0.3 m) in Livermore.

Berkeley (looking south)

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Oakland (looking north)

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Fremont (looking north)

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San Jose (looking north)

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Livermore (looking west)

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The colors indicate the peak intensity of the shaking up to the current time in the movie at each location. See Explanation of Colors for a more detailed description of the color scheme.

The movies are available in two different resolutions. The normal resolution versions are typically 10 MB in size. The high definition (HD) versions are typically 30 MB in size and are best viewed on high resolution displays.

These images and movies are in the public domain and may be used freely. Please credit the U.S Geological Survey.


USGS: The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake


1906 Earthquake

To better understand the distribution of shaking and damage that accompanied the great 1906 earthquake, seismologists have constructed new computer models to recreate the ground motions. The simulations show how ground moved on the two sides of the San Andreas fault and how seismic waves radiated away from the fault to produce the shaking. The earthquake, which began 2 miles offshore from the City of San Francisco, ultimately grew to cause shaking and damage along more than 300 miles of the San Andreas Fault.

The movies and snapshots available here portray the shaking over a 155 mile by 70 mile area covering the San Francisco Bay region. They are offered in .mp4 format, which can be viewed using most browsers. These movies are typically 10 MB or more in size, and are best downloaded using a high speed internet connection. Snapshots from one movie are also offered as an alternative for those with slower modem connections.

Explanation of colors and earthquake features in the movies.

Map Views of Ground Shaking

Map-view snapshots and movies show the seismic waves propagating outward from the fault as the rupture expands north and south from the epicenter, which lies offshore from San Francisco. The colors and shading indicate the maximum shaking intensity at each location and the current shaking at the time noted in seconds on each movie frame.

Movie of shaking intensity

Closeup Views of Ground Shaking

These closeup images provide an oblique perspective view of the shaking at a particular location. Each image looks toward San Francisco and the epicenter, so you will see the seismic waves traveling toward you. The deformation in the ground surface has been exaggerated 1000 times to make it visible. Thus, one mile of deformation represents a little more than 5 feet of actual ground movement. Click on any of the locations on the map below or use the links under the map to view the movie of shaking at that location.

San Francisco Bay Area Map

Santa Rosa Concord Tomales Bay San Francisco San Mateo Livermore Fremont Palo Alto San Jose
Click on a location on the map or use the links below.

High anxiety: How will San Francisco’s growing skyline hold up in the kind of major quake that destroyed much of the city in 1906?

LA Times

Frisco Tall Building Inventory


What happened to Indonesia’s early warning system for tsunami detection?


  • Indonesia’s system, completed in 2008, consists of seismographic sensors, buoys (record changes in the sea level), tidal gauges (measure changes in sea level every 15 minutes and send the data to the national meteorological agency) and GPS.
  • None of the 22 buoys was operational (vandalism and lack of maintenance)
  • No data observation equipment near enough to Palu to measure tidal changes in the immediate area.
  • After Friday’s earthquake struck, all three tsunami waves hit the area fewer than 11 minutes later.

This diagram shows how tsunami wave information in the deep ocean is transmitted from DART systems via satellite to NOAA’s tsunami warning centers.

This diagram shows how tsunami wave information in the deep ocean is transmitted from DART systems via satellite to NOAA’s tsunami warning centers.

Chaos in Palu, Indonesia after the quake


“…..In the wake of a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and a 20-foot tsunami on Friday that killed at least 1,234 people, the eastern Indonesian city of Palu was still reeling. Hungry residents were begging for aid, armed men were foraging shuttered stores, crowds besieged the airport and mass jail breaks left prisoners roaming free...…”

  • 799 injured
  • 61,867 displaced
  • 65,773 damaged homes

Mass burials in Indonesia & hundreds of aftershocks continue to reverberate around Central Sulawesi, hindering rescue operations.


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