USA: The Alaska earthquake didn't kill anyone. And it's thanks to a small change the state made 50 years ago
By Jacob Shamsian
On Friday, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Anchorage, cracking roads open and leading Alaska’s governor to call for FEMA assistance.
But despite the massive earthquake, there were no fatalities, no widespread injuries, and no buildings that collapsed. Much of the area already has power again, and officials say the water is safe to drink.
Experts credit the safety to strong building codes installed following the 1964 Alaska earthquake. That earthquake and the tsunamis it unleashed killed more than 130 people and wiped small villages off the map. It lasted more than four minutes, and had a recorded magnitude of 9.2, – the most severe recorded earthquake in North America and the second-strongest in the history of the world.
Now, [Joey Yang, chairman of the civil engineering program at the University of Alaska Anchorage] told the [New York Times], developers must pass rigorous standards to be able to construct buildings in the most vulnerable parts of Alaska.
Yang also said that the depth of the earthquake – struck 30 miles underground – helped suppress its power on the surface. The aftershocks, which continued through the weekend, rarely registered above a 2.5 magnitude.