North America’s largest recorded earthquake helped confirm plate tectonics | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Help us keep you informed.

Real Science. Real News.


Reviews & Previews

North America’s largest recorded earthquake helped confirm plate tectonics

‘The Great Quake’ tells the story of the 1964 Alaska temblor

By
8:00am, September 3, 2017
Anchorage quake damage

SHAKEN UP  In 1964, the largest recorded earthquake in North American history shook Alaska to its core (damage in Anchorage, shown) and provided proof of tectonic plate movement.

The Great Quake
Henry Fountain
Crown, $28

In the early evening of March 27, 1964, a magnitude 9.2 earthquake roiled Alaska. For nearly five minutes, the ground shuddered violently in what was, and still is, the second biggest temblor in recorded history.

Across the southern part of the state, land cracked and split, lifting some areas nearly 12 meters — about as high as a telephone pole — in an instant. Deep, house-swallowing maws opened up. Near the coast, ground turned jellylike and slid into bays, dooming almost everyone standing on it. Local tsunamis swamped towns and villages.

Not many people lived in the newly formed state at the time.

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More on Favorite books of 2017

From the Nature Index Paid Content