The Great M9.2 Earthquake Reagan McAdams

On March 27, 1964 at 5:36 pm the world shook in Prince William Sound, Alaska for exactly 4 minutes and 30 seconds. This earthquake will become the second most destructive earthquake in world history. It is called the M9.2 because the richter scale goes from 1 to 10 and this was a 9.2 putting it in the very destructive zone. After all the dust cleared, the death count was 131 lives, and to repair the nearby towns it cost 2.3 billion dollars. The great M9.2 earthquake shook the earth and took more than one hundred lives in the spring of 1964. Together we will explore what happened and what were the effects of this devastating disaster on the people and the earth in 1964.

This event was caused by many things happening underneath and above the earth. The earth's crust has been broken into different pieces called plates (imagine it as a big puzzle). These plates move and shift and when this happens these plates can sometimes rub, bump, and go under each other. In this case two plates called the Pacific plate and the North American plate were the ones that caused this earthquake. The Pacific plate ran into the North American plate and the Pacific plate slid underneath the North American. This can’t only happen in Alaska though. This can happen at any convergent boundary that contains a oceanic plate and a continental plate. Scientists can tell this because an oceanic plate has a lower density than a continental, in this case the Pacific was the oceanic. So the oceanic plate will always subduct the continental. This earthquake was a huge destructive force that had a huge impact on the crust. As a result of the earthquake, a huge crack went through the city and many landslides occurred near mountains and hills. This disaster happened because of many event happening inside the earth, so let’s look at what happened on the surface.

Earthquakes are never random, they always happen for a reason including this one. The Great M9.2 occurred on a plate boundary that was undergoing some changes (see paragraph above). The effect on earth was catastrophic in so many ways, as mentioned before it cracked the surface on the crust in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The shock zone was 250 kilometers wide and it could be felt 800 kilometers away, after the earthquake. The M9.2 also put a stop in the natural growth of the area. The earthquake resulted in soil movement which causes the plates and trees to move to different areas and different soil. Adding on to that it also stopped the flow of other natural resources like food and water. The roads were destroyed so food and supplies was cut off almost completely. Also, landslides shaped the mountains and hills into a new form or shape. The earth was harmed in a way that is unfixable but this earthquake taught scientists more about the earth we live on.

Not only was the land hurt but so were the thousands of people that lived in Prince William Sound. This earthquake destroyed homes, roads, and lives. All of this cost 2.3 billion dollars to repair and 131 lives were lost. But, thanks to modern technology we now have new tools to help predict and help stop so much death. First, scientists use a seismograph which detects and records an earthquake. Also, fault zone locations and earthquake history so people who move to a fault zone area or a place where earthquakes are common you can take precautions. This new technology has given scientists a way to predict earthquakes. People who live in areas near one of these earthquake risk areas should make sure the following things are true.

These people have stable and up-to-date homes

These people also should have a safe spot that is easy to access such as under a desk or table, closet, door frame, or outside

So remember these tips if ever in an earthquake, these sure would have come in handy for the people who survived the Great M9.2.

In conclusion the Great M9.2 was a terrible disaster that shook Alaska and since so has changed the earth and people in Prince William Sound. Together we explored what happened and what were the effects of this devastating disaster on the people and the earth in 1964. But the most important thing is that we can learn from this disaster and try and prevent this much loss in the future. Lastly, M9.2 was terrible but scientists learned from it so everyone else can have a better chance of avoiding earthquakes in the future.

Credits:

Created with images by LoveToTakePhotos - "alaska prince williams sound shore" • Matt-Zimmerman - "Prince William Sound, Alaska, kayaking 2010" • Matt-Zimmerman - "Prince William Sound, Alaska, kayaking 2010" • tpsdave - "prince william sound alaska fjord" • Matt-Zimmerman - "Prince William Sound, Alaska, kayaking 2010" • Matt-Zimmerman - "Prince William Sound, Alaska, kayaking 2010"

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