Published: July 27th 2012July 26th 2012
As I mentioned yesterday, we went to the Alaska Aviation Museum. Jerry, one of our fellow travelers, is a retired pilot from Eastern Airlines. He was able to give us a lot of good information about the planes. We left the museum and went to Earthquake Park. There is a memorial there for all the losses to the big earthquake that hit Anchorage on Good Friday, March 27, 1964. Jim took a picture there in the park trying to show how much the ground had shifted. He says it was probably 15 or 20 feet. 4th Avenue, Anchorage's main, street dropped as much as 15 ft. The earthquake measured 9.2 on the Richter Scale. There were 55 strong aftershocks(some with 5.0 on the Richter Scale) that weekend. Nine people perished. At the airport, more damage was to the buildings than to the runways. After the earthquake, the tsunamis that followed caused major loss of life and property in Alaska. Anchorage did not have much damage, but low lying coastal areas like Chenega, Kodiak, Seward and Valdez suffered complete ruin. Valdez was a thriving city of 1200 people. After the earthquake hit, huge fissures formed in the earth spewing mud , water
and sewage 20 ft. into the air. As the quake reached full force, it triggered a submarine landslide under the harbor which generated a 40ft. wave that instantly destroyed the harbor, and the docks. 3 seamen were killed. Successive tsunamis completed the destruction of Valdez. After the earthquake, the city decided to move to a seismically safe area rather then rebuild. Today it sits 4 miles northeast of the original site. Seward was one of the few ice-free parts in south central Alaska and had an active economy in fishing and industry all year. Everything changed seconds after the earthquake. Huge slices of the Seward waterfront and harbor slid into the bay. The Standard Oil facility ruptured, spewing fuel everywhere. As the Standard Oil tanks overturned, they exploded and caught fire. A wall of water 30ft. high generated by a submarine landslide and covered with oil swallowed the remaining harbor and dock area. Forty oil filled railroad tank cars exploded in chain reaction. As the first wave subsided, people made their way to high ground fearing a tsunami. 25 minutes after the earthquake, the first tsunami hit Seward with 40ft. waves moving at 100 mph. The waves were still ablaze with burning oil. The last tsunamis left the town with 13 people dead and Seward totally devasted. We had another beautiful day today. Been catching up on laundry and getting groceries. We are going south of Anchorage tomorrow. We had a surprise visitor last evening. We were watching tv about 10:30 and Jim said "look". A large moose was just ambling around near our campsite. Several campers came out to take his picture, but he just took his time, eating grass along the way. Will try to put a picture on tomorrow. We are having a cook-out tonight. I am grilling reindeer hot dogs made here in Alaska. Hope they are as good as the moose brats we had the other day.