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April 8, 2006: Compare Market Street before and after the 1906 quake. Photo: UC Berkeley
Market and 4th Sts, 1906




April 15, 2006: What should you include in your earthquake survival kit? Photo: USGS
Earthquake kit




April 29, 2006: Can engineers design a freeway that won't collapse? Photo: USGS
Collapsed Cypress freeway




The 1906 San francisco Quake

Magnitude X: Quake Science and Survival
April 1-30 at the Exploratorium

In the centennial month of San Francisco’s legendary 1906 Earthquake, the Exploratorium shakes up a series of programs on the science, engineering, and human dimensions of earthquakes.  We’ll be unveiling a new Explainer-led earthquake demo that runs every day and all month long on the museum floor. Learn more about what happens during an earthquake, and what you can do to be prepared for the next Big One. 


April 1, 2006: See San Francisco in Jell-O and watch it shake. Photo: Liz Hickok

You can also watch the Jell-O city shimmy on our new earthquake science Web site,
Faultline: Seismic Science at the Epicenter.


Get directions to the museum

Saturday, April 1, 2006

San Francisco in Jell-O™ by Liz Hickok
Skylight Area
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

On view for one-day only is an offbeat, quivering Jell-O™ model of San Francisco made in the primary-colored shimmering medium by artist Liz Hickok.  Placed on a shake table, the wobbly sculpture simulates how the buildings of downtown San Francisco might “jiggle” when the Big One strikes. 

San Francisco in Jell-O™

The 1906 Quake: Lessons Learned, Lessons Forgotten, and Future Directions
1:00 p.m.
McBean Theater

Lecture by Dr. Mary Lou Zoback, Senior Research Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park. The 1906 magnitude 7.9 earthquake on the North San Andreas Fault marked the birth of modern earthquake science. For the first time, the effects and impacts of a major seismic event were investigated and documented, including the entire 200-mile-long surface break.  Find out how lessons learned from the 1906 quake are being used to determine the seismic vulnerability of the San Francisco Bay region and where earthquake science is heading in the future.

An interview with Dr. Zoback

Dr. Zoback's bio

Earthquake hazards in the Bay Area

Historical information on the 1906 earthquake

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Ask the Geologists!
Webcast Studio
12:00 noon-2:00 pm

Who would be better to answer your earthquake questions than a geologist? Two geologists! This afternoon, professors Mel Zucker and Richard Lambert from Skyline College will be on hand to answer your burning questions about seismology, tsunamis, plate tectonics, and other earthquake-related topics.

Earthquake activities for teachers

American Geophysical Union

Film: A Trip Down Market Street 1905
McBean Theater
A Trip Down Market Street 1905 (1905, 9 min., 16mm film) and Market Street After the Fire (1906, 4 min. mini-dv) with new sound by artist Dave Cerf, and other archival post 1906 films that document the destruction of the earthquake on the San Francisco landscape.

Table Top Seismology with John Lahr
Skylight Area
1:00-4:00 PM

Also Sunday, April 9
1:00-4:00 PM
Join seismologist John Lahr in an afternoon of hands-on activities!  Build a miniature earthquake-resistant wall and a home-made seismic sensor. See a table-top demonstration that models how earthquakes happen and are measured.   Dr. Lahr, in his work with the US Geological Survey for over 30 years, focused his studies on understanding the earthquakes and volcanoes of southern Alaska.  Since retiring in 2003, he has continued with the USGS as an Emeritus Seismologist. A reknowned educator, Dr. Lahr works with teachers and museums throughout the U.S. 

Saturday, April 15, 2006
It’s Our Fault: Preparing for the Big One
Activities accessible in English, Chinese and Spanish.

Join us for a day of exploring earthquakes with hands-on activities, demos, and designing your family’s earthquake kit! Explore tectonic plates with chocolate!  Activities will be accessible in English, Chinese and Spanish.

Design Your Earthquake Kit with NERT!
Skylight Area
1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

What will you need for a handy earthquake kit?  Cosmetics? Music to calm the nerves? Join Lt. Erica Arteseros of NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) as we plan and design Earthquake Preparedness kits of items commonly found at home.

Prompted by city residents, the San Francisco Fire Department formed the NERT Program in the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.  Since 1990, the NERT program has trained more than 11,000 San Francisco residents to be self sufficient in a major disaster. Individuals learn hands-on disaster skills that will help them as members of an emergency response team.

NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) or

Explore Earthquakes with Physicist Paul Doherty!  
Museum Floor
12 Noon (Spanish/English)
2:00 pm (Chinese/English

What is the Ring of Fire?  What causes earthquakes?  Explore these and other questions of your own with lively hands-on demonstrations.  See earthquakes pop up on an international map as they occur throughout the world. 

Physics of Toys:  A Whole Lot of Shaking Going On
Skylight Area
12 noon – 4 p.m.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake, the Physics of Toys team will dig into the wonders of dirt, rocks and earthquakes! Join us as we make gadgets to explore the earth around us.  Take what you make home!

Film: 1906 & 1989 Earthquake images in 3-D with artist Robert Bloomberg in person
McBean Theater
1 p.m. - 2 p.m. English
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Spanish/English
4 p.m. - 5 p.m. Cantonese/English

The City Quakes: The San Francisco Earthquakes of 1906 & 1989 (30 min.)
The great earthquake and fire of 1906 was the first natural disaster of its kind to be covered as a major media event. Photographers from around the world converged on the devastated city, including several stereo photographers.  This show features much of their work as well as never before seen 3-D images of both the 1906 and 1989 Loma Prieta quake. (Original score by Robert Bloomberg.)

Robert Bloomberg is a filmmaker, musician, and avid stereo photographer whose award-winning 3-D shows have been presented worldwide. In 2000 he produced the world’s first 3-D Dive-In Theater in Mesa, AZ. He was recently honored with a lifetime fellowship from the National Stereoscopic Association and is the Stereo Technical Advisor for the Photographic Society of America.
You can download the USGS Handbook “Putting down Roots in Earthquake Country”

Saturday, April 22, 2006
Built to Last: Structural Engineering Revealed
1:00 pm
McBean Theater

You may not ever think about structural engineering, but it’s a critical part of urban planning. Ashraf Habibullah, founder and president of Computers and Structures, Inc. in Berkeley will show us how computer modeling programs help engineers design buildings and bridges that will withstand major temblors. He’ll talk about why structural engineering matters to all of us, everyday.

Computers and Structures, Inc.:

More about the program:

Classroom resources about the engineering and the new Bay Bridge:

First at the Front: Emergency Responders
Skylight Area and North Parking Lot
Noon – 4 p.m.

Meet the heroes of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake!  Presenters include local Firefighters talking about the 1989 Marina fire, a former helicopter ambulance nurse recounting his experience during the 1989 quake, as well as the Red Cross and Task Force 4 of Alameda County’s Urban Search and Rescue Squad.

Alameda County Urban Search and Rescue "Task Force 4"

San Francisco Fire Department

San Francisco Fire Museum
SF Quake and Fire history

Red Cross Disaster Services,1082,0_319_,00.html

The Bay Area Disaster Medical Assistance Team

National Disaster Medical System

Learn more about disaster planning in San Francisco:

Dog Heroes
Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio
2 p.m.

Meet Jaeger, a real-life FEMA dog, and Shirley Hammond, a certified rescue dog trainer, in this presentation for all ages!  Find out where and how rescue dogs train, what they look for in a rescue mission, what qualities they need to have, and what they like to eat!  Hammond, author of the recently published Training the Disaster Dog , has been training rescue dogs for 29 years.  She served in Loma Prieta rescue missions on the Oakland Cypress Structure, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco’s Marina District.

Shirley Hammond's book, "Training the Disaster Search Dog."

FEMA - Disaster Dogs

Sunday, April 23, 2006
Be A Ham Radio Operator!
IFI Classroom
1 – 2 pm

What is a Ham Radio? How were they used during 9/11 and the Loma Prieta Earthquakes?  How are they different from an AM/FM radio? Find out about this unique and crucial radio with members of the Auxiliary Communications Service.  They will share the history of this communication system. You’ll have a chance to see and explore an actual Ham Radio. The Auxiliary Communications Service is a part of the Office of Emergency Services and is staffed by dedicated and skilled volunteers.

Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Film: Seeking 1906 with Simon Winchester
McBean Theater
1:00 pm

This film follows author Simon Winchester though the nooks and crannies of San Francisco, up and down the San Andreas Fault, and beyond as he searches the landscape for stories from the "big one." Co-presented with KQED and Luna Park Productions.

Saturday, April 29, 2006
Film: The Bridge So Far: A Suspense Story
2:00 .p.m
McBean Theater
THe Bridge so Far (2005, 55 min.) is a wry look at the wild and troubled history of the new east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.  Addressing what Senator Tom McClintock calls "one of the great fiascos of the 20th & 21st centuries in California history," this documentary finds both the humor and drama in that story, which unfolds through interviews with former SF Mayor Willie Brown, CalTrans Director Will Kempton, former MTC member Mary King, and many more. After the screening, writer Stephen Most will answer questions about the film.