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

  • Robert F. Bukaty / AP

    Photos of the Week: Sun Biter, Solar Probe, Belgian Bovines

    Flowers carpet Brussels, a farewell is bid to Aretha Franklin, abandoned share bikes find homes in Germany, a cardboard Viking church collapses in Liverpool, a bridge collapses in Italy, and much more.

  • Walter Iooss. Jr. / Getty

    Photos: The Queen of Soul's Amazing Career

    A collection of images of Aretha Franklin’s incredible life of performance, spanning the past five decades.

  • Fiona Goodall / Getty for Lumix

    A Visit to Tuvalu, Surrounded by the Rising Pacific

    Fiona Goodall, a photographer working with Getty Images, recently visited the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, a country battling rising sea levels with limited resources.

  • Peter Morgan / Reuters

    Photos: 15 Years Since the 2003 Northeast Blackout

    On August 14, 2003, more than 50 million people across eight U.S. states and parts of Canada were left without power for days in the most widespread blackout in North American history.