Sunday, June 21, 2015

Earthquake Park

1964 Tsunami Diagram
We drove into Anchorage to see some of the sights, including Earthquake Park with views of Knik Inlet.  Readerboards describe the 1964 earthquake that devastated much of the area.  The quake epicenter was about 6 miles east of the mouth of College Fjord resulting in a tsunami.  
Archival Photo, Anchorage 1964 Earthquake
Slides continued for 90 seconds after the earthquake had stopped and 12 million cubic yards of sand, clay and gravel slid off towards the inlet – 75 homes were destroyed and four people perished.  The seismic sea waves, or tsunamis, that followed caused the major loss of life and property.  On 4th Avenue in Anchorage, the pavement dropped as much as 15 feet.  
Earthquake Park, Anchorage
In Seward huge slices of the waterfront slid into the bay; Standard Oil tanks overturned, exploding and catching fire.  A wall of water 30 feet high created a landslide that swallowed the burning oil and the remaining harbor and dock area; 13 people perished and Seward was totally devastated.  It took 25 minutes after the quake before the first tsunami hit Seward with 40-foot waves moving at 100mph.  
Birds at Earthquake Park, Anchorage
At Valdez in Prince William Sound, the entire city began violently heaving, huge fissures formed in the earth spewing mud, water, and sewage 20 feet into the air.  The full force of the quake triggered a submarine landslide under the harbor which destroyed the docks, canneries, and all the people on the docks.  Successive tsunamis completed the destruction of Valdez.  As a result, Valdez moved to a seismically safer area and now sits four miles northwest of the original site. 
Anchorage seen across Knik Inlet
Earthquake Park includes walking trails and bicycle trails with vistas of Anchorage looking across Knik Inlet, unfortunately, it was an overcast day so we couldn’t see the mountains, including Mt. McKinley.  That’s ok with us because we now have a reason to return; there is so much to see in do in Alaska that multiple trips are a must, we will certainly be back.

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