We as humans tend to think we can fool Mother Nature, but really the joke is on us because what Mother Nature wants to do, she will do. I happened to be in Houston, Texas during the month of April, which experienced record rainfall in some parts of Harris County. Since the city is built upon various bayous, it comes as no surprise that numerous key roadways were flooded. No matter what concrete and steel barriers we erect, Mother Nature is going get her way, and all things usually play out as they were meant to be.

The First – The City by the Bay
No surprise here, San Francisco is first on the list. Spending time on Nob Hill gave me insights on places like Leland Stanford’s home on what is now the site of the Stanford Court Hotel. 1906 (The Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906) and 1989 (Loma Prieta) were not kind to San Francisco, and certain places what is now the Marina District were truly devastated. Maps like following from the USGS are of great value in gaining a better understanding of the subject.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/nca/qmap/

In the late 1840’s and decades afterwards people flocked to California for gold and fortunes. It is the home of the Big Four – Leland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker. During this time period many ships that made their way to the Port of San Francisco were later shuttled and sank where they were docked. As time went on they were covered in dirt, rock, and other material to what today is termed landfill. All one has to do is view an 1960’s classic like Bullitt to see the Embarcadero Skyway (demolished after Loma Prieta), and what is there today. In essence, Mother Nature decided the rattle the ground and what was once a proud engineering achievement became a nightmare for those trapped during the earthquake. As with 1906, the 1989 earthquake had many fires to extinguish, which brought about death, injury, and property damage. Today, one can walk from the Ferry House to Ghirardelli Square to grasp what is, and what is not. As a result, people living and working in the Bay Area must be cognizant to what can happen and always be connected to following regarding earthquake information. Below are important Web site that will be vital during a large earthquake.

http://www.bart.gov/about/projects/eqs
http://sfdem.org/0
http://www.fema.gov/

It stands to reason, that the better informed people are during a crisis, the better their chances of survival and history does have a hit of repeating itself.

Please Note: A full-scale report (8,000 words) on this topic is available upon formal request.