On Good Friday, March 27 1964 at 5:32 p.m. local time, something snapped beneath the southern coastline of Alaska. The ground began to churn and lurch from side to side, tossing around anything that could be moved.
It took over four minutes for the shaking to stop, and that was just the beginning of the tragedy. Aftershocks continued for weeks afterwards, and then there were the tsunami waves and liquefaction.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the Great Alaskan Earthquake of 1964, which killed an estimated 139 people. According to the US Geological Survey, it still ranks as the 2nd strongest earthquake in recorded history – surpassed only by the earthquake in Chile, 1960, and it was the strongest earthquake in North American history – a key point since North America is the location of a whole lot of seismic instrumentation. Via EarthStory