Earthquakes have affected more than 120 million people over the last 25 years. But it was the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 which sparked the modern field of seismology. Seismometers detect and measure sudden ground motion, from large earthquakes to small tremors far below the Earth's surface. Currently there are 17 seismometer stations around the country, placed near active faults. Seismologists use the data gathered to make accurate maps of the faults. The image above from the Library's Photograph Collection shows a seismometer instrument on view at the Museum in the 1940s. Selected images from the Collection shown here include views of the aftermath from earthquake activity in 1925 in Montana and the catastrophic damage following a 1908 earthquake in Italy.
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