Nature: Earthquake Anchorage

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Nature: Earthquake Anchorage Gender: N/A
Anchorage Earthquake
born on 27 March 1964 at 17:36 (= 5:36 PM )
Place Prince William Sound AK, USA, 61n24, 147w24
Timezone AHST h10w (is standard time)
Data source
Timed documented source, news
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 07°29' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 07°53 Asc.s_libcol.18.gif 01°20'


American; Alaskan Earthquake that struck on Good Friday, 3/27/1964, 5:36:14 PM (3/28/64, 3:36:14 UT), 61.4N, 147.42W at the head of Prince William Sound, about 80 miles east of Anchorage.

At first, the ground rocked gently; used to small tremors, people in Anchorage went about their business, waiting for the shaking to stop - but instead it grew more and more intense; suddenly, the entire south-central coast of Alaska convulsed. The land surged in huge undulating waves, shocking and splitting the terrain.

Anchorage, about 80 miles NW of the epicenter, suffered the greatest damage; most of the city lies on an oleaginous substratum of clay which turned into an unstable and slippery fluid that slid toward the sea, with huge sections of the city riding upon it. A new unoccupied six-story apartment house collapsed into rubble; the facade of concrete panels fronting the new J.C. Penney department store sheared away from the structure, crushing passers-by. Part of Fourth Ave., Anchorage's main street, dropped 11 feet straight down, taking with it stores, automobiles, and people. One wing of the elementary school dropped 20 feet into a crevasse, tearing the structure apart; the 68-foot airport control tower went down, killing the controller. In all, about 30 city blocks were completely destroyed; at suburban Turnagain Heights a section of bluff 8,600 feet long collapsed, destroying 75 homes.

For 500 miles, from Cordova to Kodiak Island, the great quake ravaged south-central Alaska. Roadways crumbled, bridges collapsed; one ship's captain at Valdez reported seeing the land "jumping and leaping in a terrible turmoil." The combination of low population density and time (late afternoon, when most schools and businesses had already closed) kept the death toll to a remarkably low level: 131. Of these, 121 were killed by the huge tsunami that followed the shock, which wiped out small settlements and Eskimo villages. Nine people at Crescent City, California died when waves from the quake hit their shore.

The intensity was difficult for seismologists to analyze. Out of about 800 seismographs around the world, only a few yielded usable seismograms (some technicians thought that if the armatures had not been under restraint, the tracing pens might have traveled about a foot off the paper); the resulting estimated magnitude was between 8.3 and 8.6 - but 8.6 is double the magnitude of 8.3! The energy released was equal to 12,000 atomic bombs, or 240,000,000 tons of TNT, and the area of land surface deformed by the quake was "larger than any such area known to be associated with a single earthquake in historic time;" more than 100,000 square miles of the surface of the earth had either been thrust up or dropped down; more than 25,000 square miles of land had moved laterally to the south-east. Anchorage shifted 6 feet, Valdez 33 feet, and Seward 47 feet; detailed maps of Alaska have had to be redrawn. At Montague Island the seafloor had lifted 38 feet, and on a parallel fault between Montague and Kodiak Islands, an area of the seafloor suddenly lifted 50 feet, causing the great tsunami that followed; the tsunami in turn raised such a huge mountain of water that it caused an atmospheric disturbance in the air above it, affecting the ionosphere, 50 miles above the earth.


Source Notes

LMR quotes Diana K. Rosenberg, "Stalking the Wild Earthquake," from "The Astrology of the Macrocosm: New Directions in Mundane Astrology," Ed. Joan

McEvers, Llewellyn Publications 1990. Permission to use the data 6/10/2000.


  • Mundane : Disasters : Natural Disasters (Earthquake 8.6)