1989: Disaster strikes
Firemen search for occupants in a heavily-damaged building in the Marina District of San Francisco, October 17, 1989. (Getty Images)
Disaster struck San Francisco on on October 17, 1989. In this image, firemen search for occupants in a heavily-damaged building in the Marina District of the city, one of the areas hardest hit by an earthquake estimated at 7.0. The so-called Loma Prieta earthquake lasted between 10 and 15 seconds - striking during the World Series between two local teams, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's coincidentally - leaving 63 people dead and more than 3,700 people injured. San Francisco and Oakland were rocked after a section of the San Andreas fault located around Santa Cruz, Calif., ruptured over a 45 kilometer stretch. The force of the temblor reminded the country - and even San Francisco old timers - about the risks of building in an earthquake zone. And while it may have been the first such quake in most Americans' memories, it had antecedents going back to the 19th century. After the recent tragedy in Japan, is complacency still an option? If past is prologue, the answer may be one we won't like very much.