Effects of the Earthquake of March 27, 1964, on the Alaska Railroad   [open pdf - 30MB]

"In the 1964 Alaska earthquake, the federally owned Alaska Railroad sustained damage of more than $35 million: 54 percent of the cost for port facilities; 25 percent, roadbed and track; 9 percent, buildings and utilities; 7 percent, bridges and culverts; and 5 percent, landslide removal. Principal causes of damage were: (1) landslides, landslide-generated waves, and seismic sea waves that destroyed costly port facilities built on deltas; (2) regional tectonic subsidence that necessitated raising and armoring 22 miles of roadbed made susceptible to marine erosion; and (3), of greatest importance in terms of potential damage in seismically active areas, a general loss of strength experienced by wet waterlaid unconsolidated granular sediments (silt to coarse gravel) that allowed embankments to settle and enabled sediments to undergo fiowlike displacement toward topographic depressions, even in fiat-lying areas. The term 'landspreading' is proposed for the lateral displacement and distension of mobilized sediments; landspreading appears to have resulted largely from liquefaction. Because mobilization is time dependent and its effects cumulative, the long duration of strong ground motion (timed as 3 to 4 minutes) along the southern 150 miles of the rail line made landspreading an important cause of damage."

Report Number:
Geological Survey Professional Paper No. 545-D
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Geological Survey: http://www.usgs.gov/
Media Type:
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