Posts Tagged ‘earthquake damage’

On August 31, 1886 a powerful earthquake hit Charleston, South Carolina.  Though the Richter Scale would not be developed until 1935, retroactive analysis estimates a magnitude of 7.3.  To date, it is the most damaging earthquake to have occurred in the Southeast United States.  In just under a minute, 60 lives were lost and 2,000 buildings were damaged.  Scientists continue to study this event as an example of an intraplate earthquake, which occurs in the interior of a tectonic plate rather than at a plate boundary.  Intraplate earthquakes are relatively rare and their exact mechanisms have yet to be understood.

A view of the damage at the corner of Cumberland and East Bay. Image courtesy of the Medical University of South Carolina.

Last week another intraplate earthquake hit the Southeast with an epicenter in the town of Mineral, VA.  This event was shortly followed by Hurricane Irene, which traveled up the East Coast from the Carolinas.  Opening History has many collections documenting historic natural hazards and disasters that have struck the United States, including the 1886 Charleston Earthquake Photographs, the Georgetown County Hurricane Collection, the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection, 1936 Gainesville Tornado: Disaster and Recovery, Louisiana Hurricane Resources, and the Lousiana State Museum Hurricane Katrina Oral History Project.


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The San Francisco Earthquake started on April 18, 1906. The Opening History aggregation includes two digital collections documenting this event: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection and Edith Irvine Collection. The photograph below, courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection digital collection, part of Online Archive of California (OAC), shows earthquake wrecked buildings on Howard Street.

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