12 of the Most Destructive Earthquakes


San Francisco: April 18, 1906

The Great San Francisco Earthquake -- a 7.8 magnitude tremor -- brought down structures across the Bay Area. In San Francisco, buildings crumbled, water mains broke, and streetcar tracks twisted into metal waves. But the majority of the 3,000 deaths and $524 million in property damage came from the massive post-tremor fire, which spread rapidly across the city in the absence of water to quell the flames. People as far away as southern Oregon and western Nevada felt the shaking, which lasted nearly a minute.