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Are we in Danger from Earthquakes?

No disastrous earthquake has visited San Francisco within the past hundred years, and the series of earthquakes which lately occurred in the southeastern corner of the State, four hundred miles -- on the edge of the great Interior Basin, and in a volcanic region -- were by no means so disastrous or severe as those which visited the Mississippi Valley in 1811, or those which are of frequent occurrence in New Zealand, Japan and many other countries. Nevertheless, the people of the Atlantic States look upon California as one of the most dangerous earthquake countries in the world. This is due to the infernal habit of exaggeration which characterizes Eastern newspaper letter-writers and newspaper editors. The New York papers published such sensational heads as these, lately: "California Rocking from One End to the Other!" "California's Fearful Cataclysm!" The Solid Earth Melting!" etc., etc., while a few correspondents here supplemented and added to the lies and excitement. The truth, however, is -- judging by an analogy and all the light that science has placed within our reach -- San Francisco is in very little more danger of a disastrous earthquake than the Eastern States of being flooded by an overflow of the Atlantic ocean. Some of the distant southern and southeastern counties are subject to heavy shocks, but there is little danger, even there, to those who reside in frame buildings.

The Atlantic papers would most willingly publish any wild earthquake theory that San Francisco was in momentary danger of being swallowed up; but we have no hope that they will publish these facts. There would be no sensation in them, and nothing but sensation agrees with the feverish newspaper stomach there.

San Francisco Real Estate Circular
For April 1872

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