The first tremors of a massive earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay area at precisely 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, splitting along the San Andreas fault. The quake, considered to be one of the most significant earthquakes of all time, lasted 45 to 60 seconds and was felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles, and as far east as Nevada, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The fires that followed caused perhaps more damage than the quake itself. This year marks the 110th anniversary of the great earthquake that shook San Francisco.
Scientists have tried to predict when the next earthquake of this size could hit. The USGS says that California has a 1 in 5 change of seeing a similar quake to the San Andreas fault in the next 30 years, based on 2008 forecasts, though other estimates vary.