Innocent Darkness & the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Posted July 24, 2012 by Sara 1 Comment

Today, we’re exploring one historical event that gets a bit of fictionalization in Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear — the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

In Suzanne’s novel, the quake takes place in 1895 and is triggered by magical backlash from the Otherworld. (Seriously, just read the book when it comes out next month — it all makes sense & it’s so fabulous.)

But as Suzanne notes at the beginning of her book, the San Francisco Earthquake actually happened in 1906 and was triggered by a major shift in the San Andreas Fault.

Measurements back then weren’t as accurate as they are today, but it’s estimated that the 1906 quake had a magnitude of at least 7.9 — and shaking was felt as far away as Oregon, Nevada, and Los Angeles.(By comparison, the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 — one I remember vividly from my childhood — had a magnitude of only 6.9.)

To this day, it is still considered one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. More than 3,000 people are estimated to have died in the quake, and the economic damage has been compared to the effects Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.

The quake caused incredible damage to the San Francisco area — but even worse were the fires sparked in its aftermath. In fact, it’s estimated that 90% of the damage from the quake was actually caused by the ensuing fires. Much of the reconstruction after the quake laid the groundwork for the San Francisco of today.

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