Anchorage to Ponoka
2004 miles
Comments from Our Readers
For a mid west gal, I have been in 3 earthquakes -- none of very big consequences
(Tokyo, Redwood City, Lansing area).  I have never been in a tornado which is
much more likely given where I live.  You are lucky to have been in a 7.8 and
survived.  It is so bizarre to feel the earth move underneath you.  My son and
daughter-in-law experienced one just a few months before my granddaughter was
born.  They made the decision to place the crib in a better position if one should
occur again.  I have told my son he needs an escape plan if a big one should occur.  
He just laughs at me.  Would you go toward the coast or east toward the
mountains?  At least with a tornado, you just go down in the basement and wait it

I only vaguely remember anything about the Alaskan 1964 earthquake.  It was my
senior year in high school and we probably were on the class trip to D.C.  This
tornado happened just a few miles from my home in April 1965:

Interesting quiz.  I thought at first it was a sinkhole.
Judy Pfaff
I have been in a few earthquakes; the most recent measuring about 4.2 on the
Richter Scale, but nothing like your 7.8. That must have been horrifying! It is so
very scary when Mother Nature rears her ugly head as we feel so very minute and
so very vulnerable.

Glad the Turkish quake did not lead to your ultimate wake. I'm happy you are still
kicking about.
Cindy Costigan
You REALLY got so much more than the total solar eclipse while you were in
Turkey. What memories of the entire trip for you! I have never experienced an
earthquake wherever I've been. I've done research at the Family History Library in
Salt Lake (area overdue for an earthquake) but nothing happened any of the many
times that I was out there.

Is the next quiz all ready to go? Thanks, Fearless Leader!
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
The Fabulous Fletchers
I don't remember how I solved it, just that "sinkhole" didn't work and that I found
another picture of the event with a devastated forest area.

But once I found it, I couldn't stop thinking about the 1985 Mexican earthquake. If
we had it that bad with 8.5 degrees, I can't imagine what would have become of the
City with 9.2  Anchorage is a popular and big place, and by the way it is mentioned
these days, you would never think that half a century ago the city was a disaster
Ida Sanchez
N. B. I remember the Mexican earthquake.  It severly damaged a maternity
hospital in Mexico City.  After several days, they were amazed that they were
pulling newborn babies alive from the rubble.  But if you think about it, the
babies had been in a small, confined environment (in their moms' bellies) for
the previous nine months, so I heard someone say that could be why they
survived. Don't know if that was true or not.

I also recall the earthquake happened out in the ocean, and propagated several
hundred miles inland to the city.  Mostly the medium sized buildings were
affected by the quake - the small ones and tall ones were left alone.  This was
kind of curious.

The explanation behind this was that by the time the earthquake traveled from its
epicenter in the ocean, some of the vibration frequencies had died out and only
certain ones were left.  They happen to be the resonance frequencies of the
medium sized buildings in town so they shook the most.  To add to it, Mexico
City is on an ancient lake bed, and the soil is very soft and rubbery.  So the
shaking was amplified by the rubber and made things a lot worse for those
medium buildings.
-Q. Gen
You'll find it funny, but during the 85 earthquake, my mother noticed there was
something odd when my door was trying to keep his bedroom door open and his
wooden horse wouldn't hold it. One of the few earthquakes that has actually been
felt on my hometown.

The biggest fortune was the timing. Casualties would have been 10 times more had
it been one hour later,  but office buildings were not open yet. It took us a couple of
day to get a hold of the family because phone lines were extremely busy,
fortunately everybody was fine.

That event marked a before and after, like a Mexican 911. We all remember where
we were and what we were doing at that exact moment, regardless of age.
I was once very near an epicenter in Chiapas and heard it coming (it was very
early, we were still in bed). May have been only a 5, but I can now describe how
an earthquake actually sounds.

Oh, I do remember the 1960s clue to solve the quiz, after seeing the cars, I added
that decade into my searches
Ida Sanchez
It's Anchorage Methodist University, no?
Tynan Peterson
Okay, I'm going to guess that this was taken the day after the quake, because of the
brightness of the sky and the fact that sawhorses are in place to mark the hazard   
quake was at 5:36 PM, and this looks like earlier in the day. Bright but very diffuse
light from the overcast. No distinct shadows. Also what looks like an inspection
team being led by a guy in a hardhat. Not likely to be happening shortly after the
quake and before dark. Only confirming information on the photo date I've found is
1964, and I already knew that. So I'll say 28 March, 1964.

It's extremely likely that I've seen this photo before, but I don't specifically
remember it; nonetheless, it took me about a fraction of a second to recognize the
city and the event.

Anchorage has, of course, changed a lot in fifty years. A nice enough city, I
suppose, but my wife and I avoid it as much as possible. We don't generally find it
worth the four- or five-hour drive each way for shopping or cultural events, but the
hospitals offer services we can't get in our little town, and I can get excellent repair
and servicing on my trombone!
Peter Norton
N.B.  Although most people wrote in March 27, it could have been taken the day
after, on Mary 28.

I checked when sunset occurrs in Anchorage on March 27, and 28.  

8:32 pm on March 27
8:35 pm on March 28

Judging from how light the sky is, the picture really could have been taken right
after the earthquake, that evening, or the next morning.  It seems to me the key
is how many people are in the street and what their general attitude seems to be.  
The roadblocks and the guy with the hardhat leading what looks like an
inspection crew indicate it was the next day.  Also note that there are no women
in the picture.

Weather looks uninviting, earthquake or not.

I am glad to hear that Anchorage has some redeeming value through their
trombone- repair services.
- Q. Gen.
I lived in Ponoka Alberta At the time of this quake. It was felt there! The
hanging lights in the arena swayed and the dishes in china cabinets moved! Port
Albernie BC was massively affected by the Tsunami as it is so far inland.
Winnifred Evans
Several easy clues. Definitely an earthquake. Cars are 1959-60 vintage, sign
advertising AMU theater shows dates of Mar. 25-29. Google search for 1960's
earthquakes yielded a Wikipedia article with the same picture.
Ellen Welker
This was not so easy, but eventually a search on "Sportsman"s Club and Bar"
yielded some pointers to images of the earthquake. None of them was this image,
though, but once I knew what event it was, it was easier to search. I found this
image at which, as it turns out, has a large database of searchable
items including lots of old photographs. It's a pretty interesting website.
Roger Lipsett
I dated the cars to the earlier 60's, did a google search on "1960 street collapse" and
Karen Petrus
Too easy.  The age of the cars was the first giveaway, that and the big hole in the
ground.  Just to make sure, I checked the date and it coincided with the dates on
the Our Town banner stretched above the street.  The picture is of Fourth Avenue
in Anchorage, Alaska after the 1964 earthquake.  The earthquake took place on
March 27, 1964 at 5:36pm local time.  It was the most powerful earthquake ever
recorded by a seismograph in North America.  In the world, it was second only to
the 1960 earthquake in Chile.  When the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred, I
rode it out under my dining table.  When I heard that it lasted about 15 seconds, I
was stunned.  Those 15 seconds were the longest seconds in my life.  The Alaska
and Chile earthquakes were measured in minutes, 4 and 10 respectively.  That is
horrifying.  It must have felt like they were going on forever.
Carol Farrant
Method: I started with googling "sinkhole city street cars" plus the dates 1958-60
(because of the cars visible). But that didn't turn up your pic. So I started searching
on the business names, and the most unique one, that I tried first (Scandinavian
Club Bar), led straight to your picture on
Collier Smith
This was easy, and fun.  I knew it was an earthquake. I looked up the AMU
Theatre and the "Our Town" play, and it brought me to the Alaska
Archives and a similar picture.
Lz Rector
Yes, we do live in N. CA.  My problem is the big shakes I have been around for, I
haven't felt for one reason or another.  The Lomo Prieta I missed because I was
riding in a car and we didn't feel it.  I was dropped off at BART and they had
stopped running the trains because they wanted to check out the tracks.  I caught a
bus to the next town and the driver dropped us off.  I was stuck because the buses
from there on were all "full".  The problem was, the drivers here don't know from
full.  I have spent too much time in Mexico and Central America and I know when
a bus is full.  These were practically empty, there were only a few people standing.  
They could have gotten twenty or thirty more riders on without people hanging out
the windows or doors.

We missed one in Nicaragua because we left town an hour or two before it hit and
we were on a bus when it hit.  We saw news coverage a bit later and when we
asked where the quake had happened it turned out we had just left the town earlier
that day.  I can't decide whether I am lucky or unlucky.

I do believe in trying to be prepared however.  We have bought a good sized shed
for our back yard.  We keep all our earthquake supplies there and there is room in it
to sleep if we need too.

Have a good week.  
Milene Rawlinon
Clues from the Picture
Quiz #461 Results
Bookmark and Share
Answers to Quiz #461 - January 11, 2015
1. What date was this photo taken?
2. What event?
3. What record does it hold?
TinEye Alert
You can find this photo on,
but the quiz will be a lot more fun if you solve the puzzle on your own.
1.  Probably March 28, 1964
2.  The Great Alaska Earthquake, Good Friday, March 27, 1964.
3.  The most powerful earthquake recorded in North America,
and the second most powerful earthquake measured by seismograph.

Congratulations to Our Winners

Margaret Paxton                Ida Sanchez
Cindy Costigan                Tom Collins    
Winnifred Evans                Carol Farrant
Tom Collins                Gary Elder
Judy K Pfaff                 Roger Lipsett
Tynan Peterson                Gary Elder
Karen Petrus                Evan Hindman
Collier Smith                Peter Norton
Joshua Kreitzer                Rebecca Bare
Arthur Hartwell                Steve Jolley
Milene Rawlinson                Diane Scannell
              Darlene Anderson         Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana      
Debi Disser                Margaret Waterman
Ellen Welker                Leon Stuckenschmidt
Timothy Fitzpatrick                Karen Petrus
Meg Bate                Liz Rector
Evan Hindman

Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
The Fabulous Fletchers!
If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
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How Ida Solved the Puzzle

How Arthur Solved the Puzzle

I started in google images looking for sink hole. I was surprised how
many different sink holes have occurred. And the number of states
with large expanses subject to sink hole activity. Cars in sink hole
brought up the 1964 earthquake. Wikipedia the picture taken by an
Army photographer.  Army activated within 10 hours of quake, hence
March 28,29 date.

Arthur Hartwell
In 1964, Alaska was shaken by the largest
U.S. earthquake ever recorded: Magnitude
9.2.  In 1964, scientists did not
understand how or why it occurred.

Immediately, three U.S. Geological
Survey scientists were sent to figure it
out. There were no faults at the surface
to explain it. Even with months of careful
observation and field work the cause of
the quake remained a mystery, until one
of the scientists, geologist George
Plafker, considered the quake in terms of
Magnitude 9.2 - The Great Alaskan Earthquake
USGS Multimedia Gallery
the newly forming theory of plate tectonics. His realization changed our understanding
of these great earthquakes.

George Plafker: “…the oceanic crust is being pushed underneath that part of southern
Alaska at a very low angle and there was slip on this, on the interface between the
oceanic crust and the overlying continental crust. “

These two crusts are converging at the dramatic rate of an inch and a half each year.
Periodic slip between the crusts produces great quakes, which Plafker called
“megathrust” earthquakes. Scientists now recognize the distinctive patterns of uplift
and downdrop at the earth’s surface characteristic of these quakes.

George Plafker:  “One of the obvious things that everybody wants to know when you
have an earthquake like this is how frequently do they occur? Could you have one
tomorrow or is it thousands of years?”

By drilling 50 feet into the earth and taking core samples, Plafker and his team
discovered nine megathrust earthquakes had occurred in south central Alaska over the
past 5,500 years. The average time span between these quakes is 630 years.

The 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake was accompanied by massive tsunamis. Within
minutes one created a wave 20 stories high in parts of Alaska. Some travelled across
the Pacific wreaking havoc in coastal Oregon, California, and Hawaii.

The widespread damage and loss of life from this earthquake led to a determination to
use science to save lives in the future.

Peter Haeussler:  “South central Alaska here is the infrastructure center of the state and
it’s also by far the largest population center of the state. And the work that we do
involves basically….the fundamental characterizing of the earthquake hazard and
knowing which faults are active, which faults can produce earthquakes, understanding
how often these earthquakes occur. And then another part is understanding the local
tsunami hazard."

Legacies from the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake include: - The USGS Earthquake
Hazards Program. – NOAA’s round-the-clock Tsunami Warning Centers. – The
Advanced National Seismic System, resulting in Seismic Hazard Maps and improved
building codes.  

All together, these programs can help predict strong ground motions from future
earthquakes, and minimize risks. For one example, scientists learned that Valdez was so
unstable and at such risk for earthquakes that the town was moved.

The 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake changed our understanding of quakes and tsunamis
and had a profound and lasting impact on how scientific knowledge can be used to help.
Click here to see video.

Personal Earthquake Experience
of the Quizmaster General
In 1999, I was vacationing in Turkey when the 7.8 earthquake hit that
destroyed the northern part of the country.  The hotel where we were
staying in Istanbul was located in a neighborhood that sustained
minimal damage; a town that was about 10 miles away was

It was just past 3 am when the quake hit. At first, I thought I felt a
truck driving in the street but the vibrations got worse and worse and
worse. Suddenly, I heard a friend running down the hall screaming

I ran out of my room and into the stairwell.  The building felt as if it
was walking off its foundations. I thought it was going to collapse on
me. Yet it was the most peaceful moment I've ever had knowing that
I may have made the last decision I would ever need to make in my
life.  Either I survived or I didn't.

Before I knew it, I was in the street with the clothes on my back.  No
shoes, no wallet, no glasses, no ID. The friend in his pajamas stood
next to me.  We watched as people trickled out of the hotel - one
family with four children appeared after about ten minutes.  If the
building had collapsed, they would have been killed.

As we walked through the streets among the milling crowds, Istanbul
suddenly went dark with major power failure.  We wandered around
for hours, unable to go back into our hotel.

When the sky started to lighten, we heard the call to prayer at dawn.  
Even though the city was lying in major ruins, the muezzins still
fulfilled their obligation.  I don't know if they climbed to the tops of
their minarets. Either way, we could barely hear the prayer - their
microphones were useless.

My family didn't know I was alive.

It wasn't until many hours later that I was able to find an internet cafe
that had power restored to send them a quick email that I was OK.

There are many more stories.  

My friends and I didn't know much about what had happened
because the dish for the satellite that provided English language
television had been knocked out of position and we couldn't read the
Turkish papers. We just knew there were thousands of people
sleeping in the parks.

When I got home to CA two days later as I was driving in to work I
heard on the radio that by the time I emerged from the stairwell and
had made it into the street, 35,000 people had been killed and 125,000
buildings had collapsed.  I had calls all day from friends wanting to
know if I was all right.

Colleen Fitzpatrick PhD
Quizmaster General
World Traveler
Total Solar Eclipse Afficianado
Nine Largest Earthquakes by Magnitude
May 22, 1960
Valdivia, Chile
1960 Valdivia earthquake
Dec. 26, 2004
Indian Ocean, Sumatra,
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
Mar 27, 1964
Prince William Sound,
1964 Alaskan earthquake
Mar 11, 2011
Pacific Ocean, Tohoku
Region, Japan
2011 Tohoku earthquake
Nov 4, 1952
Kamchatka, Russian
SFSR, Soviet Union
1952 Kamchatka earthquakes
Jul 9, 869
Pacific Ocean, Tohoku
Region, Japan
869 Sanriku earthquake
Dec 2, 1611
Pacific Ocean, Hokkaido,
1762 Arakan earthquake
Apr 2, 1762
Chittagong, Bangladesh
(then Kingdom of Mrauk
1833 Sumatran earthquake
Nov 25, 1833
Sumatra, Indonesia (then
part of the Dutch East
1906 Equador-Colmbian earthquake
Jan 31, 1906
Ecuador – Colombia
2010 Chilean earthquake
Feb 27, 2010
Bio-Bio, Chile
1700 Cascadia earthquake
AMU (Alaskan Methodist University)
Banner for production of Our Town
March 25-28
Sportsman's Bar
Hunter's Bar
Scandinavian Club Bar
1960's Model Cars
The Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964
There are hints that the photograph was
taken the day after the quake, or even a
few days later:

What appears to be an inspection crew is
walking towards the camera. It includes a
man wearing a hard hat, and two
policemen.  There are also saw horses in
the street with policemen or guards
regulating traffic in the damaged area.
The 1964 Alaskan earthquake, also
known as the Great Alaskan earthquake
and Good Friday earthquake, occurred at
5:36 P.M. AST on Good Friday, March
27. Across south-central Alaska, ground
fissures, collapsing structures, and
tsunamis resulting from the earthquake
caused about 139 deaths.

Lasting four minutes and thirty-eight
seconds, it was the most powerful
recorded megathrust earthquake in U.S.
and North American history, and the
second most powerful ever measured by
seismograph. It had a moment magnitude
of 9.2, making it the second strongest
earthquake in recorded history—the
strongest being the 1960 Valdivia
earthquake in Chile.

The powerful earthquake caused soil
liquefaction in the region. Ground
fissures and failures caused major
structural damage in several
communities, much damage to property
and several landslides. Anchorage
sustained great destruction or damage to
many inadequately earthquake engineered
houses, buildings, and infrastructure
(paved streets, sidewalks, water and
sewer mains, electrical systems, and
other man-made equipment), particularly
in the several landslide zones along Knik
Arm. Two hundred miles southwest,
some areas near Kodiak were
permanently raised by 30 feet (9.1 m).
Southeast of Anchorage, areas around
the head of Turnagain Arm near
Girdwood and Portage dropped as much
as 8 feet (2.4 m), requiring
reconstruction and fill to raise the
Seward Highway above the new high
tide mark.

In Prince William Sound, Port Valdez
suffered a massive underwater landslide,
resulting in the deaths of 30 people
between the collapse of the Valdez city
harbor and docks, and inside the ship
that was docked there at the time.
Nearby, a 27-foot (8.2 m) tsunami
destroyed the village of Chenega, killing
23 of the 68 people who lived there;
survivors out-ran the wave, climbing to
high ground. Post-quake tsunamis
severely affected Whittier, Seward,
Kodiak, and other Alaskan communities,
as well as people and property in British
Columbia, Oregon, and California.
Tsunamis also caused damage in Hawaii
and Japan. Evidence of motion directly
related to the earthquake was reported
from all over the earth.

The Alaska Earthquake was a subduction
zone earthquake (megathrust
earthquake), caused by an oceanic plate
sinking under a continental plate. The
fault responsible was the Aleutian
Megathrust, a reverse fault caused by a
compressional force. This caused much
of the uneven ground which is the result
of ground shifted to the opposite

Two types of tsunami were produced by
this subduction zone earthquake. There
was a tectonic tsunami produced in
addition to about 20 smaller and local
tsunami. These smaller tsunami were produced by submarine and subaerial landslides
and were responsible for the majority of the tsunami damage. Tsunami waves were
noted in over 20 countries, including: Peru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Japan,
and Antarctica. The largest tsunami wave was recorded in Shoup Bay, Alaska, with a
height of about 220 ft (67 m).

Calculated travel time map for the
tectonic tsunami produced by the 1964
Prince William Sound earthquake in
Alaska. Tsunami Travel Times
computed using TTT v3.1 (P. Wessel).
Map does not show the height or
strength of the waves, only the
calculated travel times.

Red: 1-4 hour arrival times
Yellow: 5-6 hour arrival times
Green: 7-14 hour arrival times
Blue: 15-21 hour arrival times.