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SSA Turns 100

November/December 2004

The 1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance

For more than two years, several groups in Northern California have been working on plans to commemorate the centennial of the 1906 earthquake. In June 2002, scientists from USGS in Menlo Park and UC Berkeley met with SSA Executive Director Susan Newman to begin planning centennial activities related to the 2006 SSA annual meeting.

From these initial steps, plans for recognizing the earthquake centennial have grown rapidly. In order to coordinate planning and expand outreach efforts, an umbrella nonprofit organization known as the 1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance was formed. The objective of the Alliance is to use the centennial of the 1906 earthquake to highlight a century of progress toward understanding earthquake hazards and reducing risks as well as to commemorate the cultural and social responses to this historic event. With a membership that spans academic and research groups, scientific and professional societies, historical societies and libraries, city, county, and state agencies, museums, parks, and corporations, the Alliance brings together policy makers, scientists, engineers, historians, educators, artists, emergency responders, and the general public to explore the lessons learned from this earthquake and ways to minimize the impact of future earthquakes on the San Francisco Bay area.

Currently, more than 60 groups and organizations have joined the '06 Alliance. In addition to the joint SSA, EERI, and California OES earthquake conference, a small sampling of activities includes:

The Alliance is organized by a small steering committee, led by Mary Lou Zoback of USGS and Earl Aurelius, formerly of EQE International, who serves as the executive director. The quarterly meetings of the Alliance have grown into extremely popular events, with diverse presentations. For example, in October 2003, Carol Prentice of USGS provided an overview of the 1906 earthquake and discussed current research in paleoseismology along the San Andreas. In January 2004, the Alliance heard about the 1906 earthquake relief efforts and the roles of women in that endeavor from Stanford graduate student Andrea Davies-Henderson. More recently, the Alliance has heard from artist Ben Johnson, who has been commissioned to paint a panorama of San Francisco as part of the earthquake commemoration, and photographer Mark Klett, who is producing a series of "then and now" photographs. Ben Johnson's panorama will be unveiled at San Francisco City Hall in April 2006, with a long-term home in the renovated former United States Mint building in San Francisco. Mark Klett's photographs will be on display at the Legion of Honor in 2006, with plans for an accompanying book to be published.

The Alliance plans to provide guides and brochures to the entire array of centennial events as well as marketing and overall coordination of public relations for a wide range of planned activities including:

Information about the Alliance, including how to join, can be found on the Web at http://1906centennial.org/. This site also provides information about activities that are being planned and links to other related Web sites. The Alliance holds quarterly meetings which are open to anyone who would like to attend. Joining the Alliance assures e-mail updates about meeting times and locations.

Figure 1

Figure courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley.




Posted: 23 July 2005