Remember learning about plate tectonics in school? Well, Alaska is constantly responding to this nearly incomprehensible movement. The Pacific Plate is moving northwestwardly under the North American Plate at a rate of approximately 2.5 inches per year, resulting in many fault lines. Earthquakes are very common and there are an average of 50-100 earthquakes throughout Alaska--daily! In fact, Alaska has more earthquakes per year than all other U.S. states combined!
The picture above, taken in Portage, Alaska near Anchorage, is one of the many remnants of the famous 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake. The magnitude 9.2 quake which shook South-Central Alaska on March 27, 1964 at 5:36 p.m. Alaska Standard Time, lasted for over four minutes and was felt around the world. It is the most powerful earthquake on record in the United States and second most powerful in the world. The devastation of the quake and the resulting tsunamis occurred mostly in Anchorage but reached as far as Hawaii and Japan,
While many quakes occur within the Interior of Alaska, most occur throughout the Aleutian Islands chain, which directly follows the plate lines. A clear picture of this can be seen in the Google map below:
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