National Geographic : 1966 May
San Francisco, of course, eventually was rebuilt, together with a safeguard that remains to this day. What had cost the city cruelly in its struggle with fire was lack of water-the first shock had severed most of the mains. Today San Francisco firemen run little risk of fac ing a holocaust with limp and useless hoses. At 152 points around the city, on the crests of hills and at major intersections, lie great subterranean cisterns, independent of the city's water system-precious weapons against earthquake and its aftermath. Actually, the cisterns are nothing new to San Francisco: Smaller versions existed even before the great fire. Several were located in the notorious Bar bary Coast area, near Pacific Avenue and Kearny Street, where they helped to save the Coast in 1906; it suffered scarcely a casualty or a burned-out saloon. Today enlarged cisterns safeguard the Coast's would be successor, the dazzling but somewhat tamer North Beach entertainment district. California's Average: Tremor a Day Californians are constantly reminded of the terri ble spasms that can seize their land. Every year some 350 tremors-an average of roughly one a day-are recorded in the northern and central parts of the state. "Of course, those are just the ones we can locate accurately," explains Dr. Bruce Bolt, Director of the University of California's Seismographic Station at Berkeley. "Many tremors are too remote or too slight to allow our seismographs a proper fix. Of the total number of shocks, between 30 and 60 are strong enough and close enough to people in California to be felt by them. Fortunately, none so far has equaled the 1906 shock for strength and damage combined. But all of them remind us that California is a land in perpetual motion." Dr. Bolt's town recently has earned a name for quite another type of upheaval. More than one polit ical or academic battle has raged through the head quarters of California's vast state university. The Berkeley campus of the University of Cali fornia has about 27,000 students-a figure matched and even exceeded by several other universities in the country. Yet all together UC comprises nine separate campuses throughout the state, with 80,000 students and a faculty of 6,000. Perhaps Berkeley's greatest fame rests on the genius of such men as Ernest O. Lawrence, the in ventor of the cyclotron and founder of the great Lawrence Radiation Laboratory that stretches across the hillside behind the Berkeley campus. Other northern California universities, notably Leland Stanford at Palo Alto, have contributed enor mously to the state's role in research and academic achievement. Yet, as a Berkeley senior remarked to me, "We have more Nobel Prize winners per square inch than any other place on earth." 664 CHROME (BELOW) AND KODACHROMES BY JAMES P. BLAIR © N.G.S . Weird wool-knit masks, copied from those worn by Peruvian In dians, warm cheeks and noses of youngsters skiing at Squaw Val ley. Spill-conscious, one youth plays it safe with a hard hat. Streaming a rooster tail of fresh powder snow, a skier races lengthening shadows beneath a chair lift to Siberia, the highest ridge above Squaw Valley. The Sierra Nevada resort near Lake Tahoe, scene of the 1960 Winter Olympics and now a state park, lures skiers with slopes carpeted white into early summer. One of the first states to pro tect its natural wonders from en croaching civilization, California maintains a system of 183 state parks and 8 state forests.