The massive magnitude-9.2 Alaska earthquake changed the world by proving plate tectonics works. Since the quake struck on March 27, 1964, there has never…Read More »
been another earthquake as powerful. The remarkably low death toll of 131 people belies the quake's incredible effects on the Earth. Less «
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Uplifted seafloor at Cape Cleare, Montague Island, Prince William Sound, the flat rocky surface with the white coating is about a quarter of a mile (400…Read More »
meters) wide. It was below sea level before the earthquake. Less «
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The village of Portage was abandoned after it sunk 6 feet (1.8 m) in the earthquake.
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Underwater landslides triggered deadly tsunamis before the shaking stopped. Here, trees up to 101 feet (30 m) above sea level were splintered by the tsunami…Read More »
generated by an underwater landslide in Port Valdez, Prince William Sound. Less «
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Tsunami damage along the waterfront at Kodiak.
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Another view of the tsunami destruction in Kodiak after the 1964 earthquake.
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Oil tanks failed and caught fire at many coastal towns and villages, including Valdez, seen here. The fire burned for two weeks.
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One of the iconic images of the 1964 earthquake is the collapse of Fourth Avenue near C Street in Anchorage from a landslide.
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The Turnagain Heights landslide in Anchorage destroyed 75 homes when the wet, silty soil liquefied during the earthquake shaking.
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Turnagain Heights collapse
An aerial view of the Turnagain Heights landslide in Anchorage. The area is now Earthquake Park.
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Airport tower down
The Anchorage International Airport control tower collapsed, killing the air traffic controller on duty.
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Important roads, railways, bridges and ports were destroyed during the earthquake, leaving planes and helicopters as the only lifeline for supplies.
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A span of the so-called "Million Dollar Bridge" collapsed during the earthquake.
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It took 2.5 years to repair the earthquake damage to the Alaska Railroad.
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A town lost
Valdez was moved to safer ground after the docks and part of the town slid into the water on top of a landslide. The snow line marks flooding from the tsunami that followed.
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Becky Oskin covers earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.