Frontiers 191: Magnitude 7.1 - Pieces of the Puzzle
November 30, 2018, 8:29 a.m. -- a moment etched in the memories of those who experienced the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that rocked Southcentral Alaska.
There are so many pieces to the puzzle of that day, with many still trying to make sense of what happened. Each of us holds a piece of a vast mosaic of memories – perhaps the most important, that we survived this force of nature.
This week Frontiers kicks off KTVA’s coverage of the November 30 earthquake anniversary. Here are some of the highlights:
- One year later: Some of the early responders to the November 30 quake share their own experiences.
- What lurks underneath: Joe Vigil takes us down to the docks of Anchorage to show us how planning and preparation saved the port this time. But what about about the next big quake? How will pilings eroding under the water hold up?
- Frozen in time: Heather Hintze shows us damage to the Houston Middle School, which has yet to reopen. An eerie look at a school frozen in time.
- Featured guest: Rob Witter, a research geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. After the quake, Witter and his colleagues conducted extensive surveys to read the geological record, which yielded a lot of information. What they learned might help us predict and prevent earthquake damage. To hear more from Rob Witter, be sure to check out our Frontiers Web Extra interview. Witter is joined by John Thornley, a geotechnical engineer, who consults for the city.
Although most of us have moved on from that day, we must not forget this shaker was a traumatic experience for many – in which homes in Eagle River and Sand Lake sustained heavy damage. Many families are still in recovery mode, as well as a number of businesses, which were forced to close.
There’s also the realization of how lucky we were. No lives were lost -- and for the most part, life began to return to normal in a matter of days.
Although this shaker definitely got our attention, we can all be grateful this was not the BIG one, not when compared to the 1964 earthquake, which shook for about five minutes and had a magnitude of 9.2. Geologists say the November 2018 quake lasted 20 to 40 seconds, depending on where you were – and had it gone on much longer, we would have seen much more damage.
Even so, I am struck by the impact of this earthquake – and how difficult it is to do this story justice in one program. That’s why KTVA News will feature a series of special reports leading up to the anniversary, including a half-hour program on Dec. 5, dedicated to the science of the earthquake, co-hosted by meteorologists Melissa Frey and Jeremy LaGoo.
Melissa and Jeremy were among the first to report on the earthquake. Although our newsroom was in shambles -- and a giant crack spread right in front of KTVA’s Weather Center -- our broadcasting capabilities somehow remained intact.
Melissa and Jeremy immediately set out to help us understand the puzzle of that day – and one year later, they are still at it.
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