Fact # 8

On Alaska from National Geographic Kids, 5,000 awesome Facts 2015

“A 9.2 magnitude earthquake struck Alaska on March 27, 1964-the BIGGEST EARTHQUAKE in North America to date.”

National Geographic Kids, 5,000 Awesome Facts

I remember when I moved to California in 1989. Two weeks before the big earthquake in San Francisco and Oakland. I had settled in Concord, CA, a city outside San Fran. That earthquake was a 6.9, and lasted about 15 seconds. I had moved with a couple friends to the Bay Area and I remember sitting in my car when suddenly it felt as if somebody was jumping up and down on the back of my car. I saw my friend coming out of the little store we had stopped at, giggling and swaying in sync with the rolling ground. We thought it was just a normal earthquake, for that is all we ever heard about California. They have lots of earthquakes. We didn’t realize the magnitude.

March 27, 1964, on Good Friday, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake hit the Prince William Sound, lasting a full 5 minutes with aftershocks measuring a 6.9 for 4 wk afterwards, some lasting 4 minutes. They were still recording them up to a year after the disaster. I think the San Fran’s after shocks lasted maybe for a few days so I can’t imagine how scary that would have been. They aftershocks were almost as big as San Francisco’s earthquake.

Because the Pacific and the North America plates shifted anywhere from 30-60 feet, it triggered tsunamis with the largest wave measured in at 200 feet in height. Most of the 160 casualties were by the tsunamis, not to mention all of the 311 million dollars (2.3 billion today) destruction of buildings and property.

All of the U.S states registered the earthquake except for Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware. It was reported the quake had 400 times the energy of all the atomic bombs that had gone off up until 1964.

As of 2023 that fact has remained the same for being the strongest one in North America, and second in the world behind the 9.4 quake that happened in Chile.

Because of this earthquake, geologists were able to get an idea on how they worked, which was something of a mystery up until 1964. The National Tsunami Warning Center was built in Palmer, Alaska, and monitors 24/7 for any irregular shift on the ocean floor hoping to send warnings before it gets to shores.

Sources: https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrO.YplpltkhBAGKxoPxQt.;_ylu=Y29sbwNncTEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Ny/RV=2/RE=1683756773/RO=10/RU=https%3a%2f%2fwww.history.com%2ftopics%2fnatural-disasters-and-environment%2f1964-alaska-earthquake/RK=2/RS=gmy7XzHkNkTFEZn27w435vG6cIw-





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