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

  • Noah Berger / AP

    Photos of the Week: Taxi Ornament, Russky Bridge, Turning Torso

    Aquarium dining in Singapore, the damaged Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, increasing COVID-19 cases worldwide, a drive-through Santa experience in Los Angeles, and much more

  • Emilio Morenatti / AP

    Photos: The Reality of the Current Coronavirus Surge

    Images from around the world of the current battle against COVID-19, photographed over the past few weeks

  • NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team

    2020 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar

    Every day until Friday, December 25, we’ll present one new image of our universe from NASA’s orbiting telescope.

  • Matt Rourke / AP

    Pennsylvania: Images of the Keystone State

    A few glimpses of the landscape of Pennsylvania, and some of the animals and people calling it home