Update: The U.S. Geological Survey says that little shake we had was a 3.8 magnitude quake, centered on the San Andreas Fault just southeast of Pacifica. If you're keeping score at home, that epicenter is only about 10 or 12 miles southeast of the epicenter of the 1906 quake.
Update: At 2:58 p.m. PDT, we had about a five-second anniversary quake (as experienced in North Berkeley). It consisted of about three or four seconds of rumbling followed by a little jolt. It reminds me of one April 18th in the newsroom of the (late, Hearst-owned) San Francisco Examiner, when we had a series of three fairly sharp quakes in a stretch of 20 minutes just as we were finishing work on our first edition of the day.
A nice feature in the Chronicle marking the 105th anniversary of San Francisco's signature catastrophe: '06 Quake Through Eyes of Woman Ahead of Her Time. It's a glimpse of the disaster from Leonie von Zesch, 23 when the temblor struck and one of the few women anywhere practicing dentistry at the time. (How much of a novelty was that? A contemporary newspaper clipping headlined "Woman Wields Forceps" describes her working "night and day" in a field hospital after the quake "battling that arch enemy of comfort—the toothache. [She] ... is attractive as she is young." Further, the article notes, "Race and caste make no difference to this dainty little lady. The dirty foreign boy receives the same gentle treatment as the daughter of a military officer.")
Von Zesch's account was part of an autobiography said to have run to thousands of pages, typed on onionskin paper and left among her personal effects when she died in 1944. The Chronicle's account says von Zesch left her belongings to a niece who stashed them in an attic without looking at them. When she finally did, she discovered the writings, which will be published next month as "Leonie: A Woman Ahead of Her Time" ($19.95 plus shipping and, if you live in California, sales tax).
If the rest of the book is on a par with her description of the earthquake and its aftermath, it ought to be a good read. It's not clear how long after the fact she wrote her account, but it begins with the scene in the Nob Hill home she shared with her mother rocking violently as china, Mason jars, and a variety of other household goods crash to the floor. "All the while, a seeming eternity of a few minutes, there was an unforgettable humming, grinding sound that not even the walls shut out, the grinding and breaking of myriad things all over the city." She and her mother ate a cold breakfast--a man from the gas company had already come through the neighborhood to warn against lighting fires--and then "decided to walk downtown to see whether anything had happened to the tall buildings. No one, as yet, seemed to have the remotest idea of the magnitude of the disaster."