Anniversary grim reminder

On Tuesday, San Francisco observed the 100th anniversary of the earthquake and fire that devastated the city.

In pictures from that era, the city looks more like Hiroshima than someplace that suffered an earthquake.

No one knows how many people died in the tragedy though the number may exceed 3,000. Even the magnitude of the quake is a subject of debate among scientists who say it ranged from 7.7 to 8.3. The San Andreas fault slipped as much as 28 feet at depth, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A picture at the time shows a fence that split 8 feet in Marin County.

After California and Alaska, Nevada is the most seismically active state in the union.

The beautiful Sierra Nevada rise above one of Nevada's major fault systems, which runs through Genoa, Carson City and Reno.

According to the Nevada Bureau of Mines, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the Genoa fault south of Genoa could result in the death of up to 27 people and leave 400 homeless. More telling is that 5,820 homes would be without water for a week and 1,457 would be without power.

We can't stop an earthquake. Some of our homes and businesses have been built to withstand one, some haven't.

But we can take charge of our personal safety by preparing for the worst. Stockpiling food, water and cash may seem excessive in the calm light of day. Should a severe earthquake hit Carson Valley, what seemed extreme will just be good planning.


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