Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Good Friday Earthquake
The Good Friday Earthquake (also called the Great Alaska Earthquake) of March 27, 1964, was the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history. The magnitude 9.2 earthquake, which resulted in 131 deaths, was centered in Prince William Sound off the coast of South Central Alaska.
At 5:36 PM Alaska Standard Time (3:36 AM March 28, 1964 UTC), a fault between the Pacific and North American plates ruptured near College Fjord in Prince William Sound. The earthquake lasted for three to five minutes in most areas. Ocean floor shifts created large tsunamis, which resulted in many of the deaths and much of the property damage. Vertical displacement of up to 11.5 m (38 feet) occurred, affecting an area of 250,000 km² (100,000 miles²) within Alaska.
Death toll and damage
131 people were killed as a result of the earthquake: nine in the earthquake itself, 106 from tsunamis in Alaska, and 16 from tsunamis elsewhere. Property damage was estimated at over $300 million (1964 dollars), or $1.8 billion in 2005 U.S. dollars.
Most property damage occurred in Anchorage, 120 km (75 mi) northwest of the epicenter. Nine people were killed, the only deaths directly attributed to the earthquake. Anchorage was not hit by tsunamis, but downtown Anchorage was heavily damaged, and parts of the city built on clay or near bluff, most notably the Turnagain Heights neighborhood, suffered landslide damage. Most other areas of the city were only moderately damaged.
The small coastal towns of Girdwood and Portage , located approximately 60 km (40 mi) southeast of Anchorage on Turnagain Arm, were destroyed. Girdwood was later relocated a few miles inland, while Portage, which subsided below the high-water level, was abandoned entirely.
Elsewhere in Alaska
Most towns in the Prince William Sound, Kenai Peninsula, and Kodiak Island areas, especially the major ports such as Seward and Kodiak, were heavily hit by a combination of seismic damage, tsunamis, subsidence, and/or fire. Valdez was destroyed; the town was later moved to more solid ground 7 km (4 mi) west of the original townsite. Several of the smaller, low-lying Alaska Native villages in the area (e.g., Chenega and Afognak), were mostly or totally destroyed.
A 1.4 m (4.5 ft) wave reached Prince Rupert, British Columbia, just south of the Alaska Panhandle, about 3.3 hours after the quake. The tsunami then reached Tofino, on the exposed west coast of Vancouver Island, and travelled up a fjord to hit Port Alberni twice, damaging 375 homes and washing away 55 others. The towns of Hot Springs Cove , Zeballos , and Amai also saw damage. The damage in British Columbia was estimated at $10 million Canadian in 1964 dollars, which is $65 million in 2005 Canadian dollars, or $56 million in 2005 U.S. dollars.
- USGS report on the earthquake
- Information from the Alaska Earthquake Information Center
- U.S. Geological Survey Photo Library -- earthquake photos
- The Effects of the March 28, 1964 Alaska Tsunami in British Columbia, Canada
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details