Earth-Shattering Events seeks to understand exactly how humans and earthquakes have interacted, not only in the short term but also in the long perspective of history. In some cases, physical devastation has been followed by decline. But in others, the political and economic reverberations of earthquake disasters have presented opportunities for renewal. After its wholesale destruction in 1906, San Francisco went on to flourish, eventually giving birth to the high-tech industrial area on the San Andreas fault known as Silicon Valley. An earthquake in Caracas in 1812 triggered the creation of new nations in the liberation of South America from Spanish rule. Another in Tangshan in 1976 catalysed the transformation of China into the world's second largest economy.
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