1964 Alaska Earthquake and Tsunamis
On March 27, 1964, the second largest recorded earthquake in history struck Prince William Sound, Alaska. Measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale, the earthquake killed nine and a further 122 died from the subsequent tsunamis. This event has been referred to as the. “Good Friday Earthquake” and has only been surpassed by the 9.5 quake which struck Chile in 1960. As with the 2011 Japan Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami which measured 9.0 and the equally powerful 2004 Indonesian earthquake and tsunami which was centered off the coast of Sumatra, the majority of casualties were caused by the resulting tsunami and not the initial off-shore earthquake. The much lower death toll in Alaska can be attributed to the Good Friday holiday and the time of day, as schools were closed and most workers had already left for the day.
For further reading on this event, the Alaska Earthquake Information Center has a page entitled “The Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964” with a number of resources. Video footage and documentaries on the event include “Ocean Fury”, “Though the Earth Be Moved”, and the United States Army’s “The Big Picture: Alaskan Earthquake”. Also recommended are eyewitness statements in “1964 Alaskan Earthquake – Personal Accounts”, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has a collection of still photos at its Photographic Library.
Earthquake and Tsunami Resources
U.S. West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Weather Service
Largest Earthquakes in the World Since 1900
Real-time Earthquake Tool which is preset to display all earthquakes in the last seven days which have exceeded 2.5 on the richter scale. The data feed can be customized, however, to show all seismic activity over the last 30 days. Statistics are updated every minute.
Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/s_4750