1964: Alaska's Good Friday Earthquake

On March 27, 1964, a megathrust earthquake struck Alaska, about 15 miles below Prince William Sound, halfway between Anchorage and Valdez. The quake had a moment magnitude of 9.2, making it the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded. The initial quake and subsequent underwater landslides caused numerous tsunamis, which inflicted heavy damage on the coastal towns of Valdez, Whittier, Seward, and Kodiak. Alaska's biggest city, Anchorage, suffered numerous landslides, destroying city blocks and neighborhoods. An estimated 139 people were killed, most by tsunamis -- including 16 deaths on Oregon and California shorelines. The old town site of Valdez was abandoned, with reconstruction taking place on stable ground nearby. This is the fourth of five entries focusing on events of the year 1964 this week (and next Monday). Monday's entry will feature images of the New York World's Fair.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • ESA / Copernicus Sentinel Data

    The Megafire Burning in Oklahoma

    In western Oklahoma, a region suffering through a harsh drought, several wildfires have recently broken out, including the Rhea Fire, a “megafire” which has burned more than 260,000 acres.

  • Larry Busacca / Getty for Coachella

    Scenes From Coachella 2018

    Last weekend, the first part of the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival took place in Indio, California, headlined by Beyoncé.

  • Eric Lafforgue / Art in All of Us / Corbis via Getty

    Travel Monday: A Photo Trip to Ethiopia's Danakil Depression

    In the Afar region of northern Ethiopia, lies a vast, tortured, desert plain called the Danakil Depression.

  • Mikhail Svetlov / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Walls, Whales, the Pope With a Llama

    Protests in France and Gaza, a homemade full-scale Airbus 320 replica in China, Mark Zuckerberg testifies on Capitol Hill, celebrating the Buddhist new year, a toppled statue in China, and much more.