Short essay on Earthquakes in the Western United States



The Western coastal part between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific is a seismic region. But there is no record of any violent earthquake during the period of settlement. However, the presence of fault scarps in this region makes it earthquake prone.

The most disastrous earth­quake occurred in California on March 26, 1872 which produced fault scarps here. Since it was not a densely populated region, there was little destruction.

The Sonora earthquake of 1887 was so severe that its impact was felt over thousands of square kilometres in Mexico and Southwestern United States.

The Coastal Ranges of the Pacific coast are characterised by a large number of rift valleys and fault scarps. The neighbouring areas of San Francisco have gained notoriety for severe earthquakes.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 is still remembered for being very destructive and violent. This earth­quake caused the horizontal shifting of a sizable portion of the country on the southwest side of a fault plane.

As a result of this catas­trophic earthquake the greatest damage was done to the city of San Francisco. Roads were dislocated, water pipes were damaged and the trees were uprooted.

But the fire that broke out following this great earthquake virtually ruined the entire city. The entire episode of the destruction of this city is considered as one of the great human disasters in the history of the United States of America.