‘Stories of Hope: Facing Breast Cancer’ airs on WGN tonight at 8:30PM

What was the strength of the Alaskan earthquake on Good Friday, 1964?

Dear Tom,
What was the strength of the Alaskan earthquake on Good Friday, 1964?


Melinda Chatts

Dear Melinda,
The March 27 (Good Friday), 1964, Alaskan earthquake had a strength of 9.2 on the Richter scale. It was the most powerful earthquake to strike North America and the second most powerful in the world. It lasted four minutes and thirty seconds and released 200,000 megatons of energy.
Anchorage suffered massive damage. Portions of the city’s downtown district sank 20 feet, and 130 acres of suburban Turnagain Heights sank into the sea. The coastal town of Valdez was devastated by a combination of the earthquake, mudslides and a tsunami. Miraculously, only one death resulted. There are no high buildings in Anchorage, and the population in Alaska is relatively low: 298,000.