Friday, March 27, 2015

Anniversary of Alaska's Good Friday Earthquake

Today is another anniversary of an event I include in my geology lectures, the 1964 Good Friday Alaska Earthquake.  In the interest of showing instead of telling, I'll let Accuweather's latest installment of Weather History do my work.

On March 27th, 1964 at 5:36 PM AST, a 9.2 M megathrust earthquake tossed south-central Alaska.
This story ranks right up there with my recounting of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake in its importance to my lecture about seismology.  In particular, it features two phenomena the Northridge Earthquake, a tsunami, which the Accuweather video depicts, and liquifaction, which it glosses over.  That latter process resulted in the Turnagain Heights landslide.  I show my students the photo below of it and recount a story I first read in National Geographic about a woman who escaped from her house in that neighborhood, setting her children on the top of each slump scarp then climbing up after them, all as the slump blocks continued to slide down and out to sea.  It certainly personalizes the disaster for my students.

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