This video of Crescent City, Ca., after it was hit hard by a tsunami after an 8.8 earthquake in Alaska in 1964.
The March 28 tsunami killed 11 in the Northern California coastal city and destroyed the city’s business districts. Accounts from the time reported that fuel tanks erupted in flames while cars and trucks washed down city streets, pilling up against building.
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City officials had been given notice that a tidal wave was likely, but residents said they had received such warnings in the past, and that little — if anything — ever materialized. Residents said they were stunned when the tsunami arrived, and a wall of water washed inland.
The easternmost megathrust earthquake was the March 28, 1964 M9.2 Prince William Sound earthquake, currently the second largest recorded earthquake in the world. The event had a rupture length of roughly 700 km extending from Prince William Sound in the northeast to the southern end of Kodiak Island in the southwest.
Extensive damage was recorded in Kenai, Moose Pass, and Kodiak but significant shaking was felt over a large region of Alaska, parts of western Yukon Territory, and British Columbia, Canada. Property damage was the largest in Anchorage, as a result of both the main shock shaking and the ensuing landslides. This megathrust earthquake also triggered a devastating tsunami that caused damage along the Gulf of Alaska, the West Coast of the United States, and in Hawaii.
The westernmost Aleutians megathrust earthquake followed a year later on February 4, 1965. This M8.7 Rat Islands earthquake was characterized by roughly 600 km of rupture. Although this event is quite large, damage was low owing to the region’s remote and sparsely inhabited location. A relatively small tsunami was recorded throughout the Pacific Ocean with run-up heights up to 10.7 m on Shemya Island and flooding on Amchitka Island.
Mary Greeley News