Frontiers 162: A Tale of Two Earthquakes
It may be a long time before Alaskans are able to absorb the emotional aftershocks from the magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Nov. 30.
Newcomers to Alaska all want to know how it compared to the March 1964 Good Friday earthquake, which remains the second most powerful quake ever recorded.
Those who lived through the Good Friday seismic cataclysm say the Nov. 30 quake frightened them, but also felt very different.
This week on Frontiers, we attempt to tell the tale of two earthquakes with help from geologists and two men who experienced them both.
Here are some of the highlights:
• Predictably, unpredictable. We follow two U.S. Geological Survey scientists, Adrian Bender and Rob Witter, to Anchorage’s Earthquake Park, which slid into Cook Inlet on Good Friday, 1964. Their mission: to find out if new cracks appeared in the violent earth shaking of Nov. 30.
• Earthquake déjà vu: We talk with Dan Kendall and Keith Tryck about what they experienced in 1964. Kendall was 12 years old, playing near the dock in Valdez, when the earthquake struck. Keith Tryck was a senior at West High in Anchorage. Both say the Nov. 30 quake reawakened old traumas and had them worried another “big” one was about to shake up their lives again.
• Lessons learned. Dan Kendall and Keith Tryck also talk about the importance of strong building and safety codes that were enacted after the 1964 quake, regulations they believed saved lives on Nov. 30.
As the days go by, we learn more and more about how much of a toll this latest seismic upheaval has exacted. From schools to homes, to businesses and roads — there were widespread impacts. So many Alaskans felt the sharp jolts that shook the ground for about a minute, which some said felt like it lasted forever.
Thousands of aftershocks later, it is now a collective memory — one that has brought us together through a common experience, one we hope will serve as a reminder that Alaska is earthquake country — something we should never forget as we go forward.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.