Alaska Earthquake 2011
September 3, 2011 by USA Post
Alaska Earthquake 2011, When an earthquake of 5.8 magnitudes struck the east coast last week, millions of people felt. When an earthquake of 6.8 magnitudes struck in the remote Aleutian Island chain of Alaska, early Friday, few realized – even though it was almost 10 times more potent.
Although earthquakes in the news when he was on the east coast, Alaska has 12,000 a year, more than any other state. Consequently, it is much better prepared.
“They experience a lot of earthquakes there,” said Jeremy Zidek, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security Alaska. “It is not unusual, and people are used to it.”
In Alaska, the Pacific plate is being pushed beneath the Aleutians, and most of the seismic activity is concentrated state in the chain of 300 islands extending 1200 miles.
“So there,” said Paul Caruso, a geophysicist at the Earthquake Information Center National Golden, Colorado “Each of them is a volcanic island.”
Four of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded were in Alaska, said Caruso.
One of those affected in Alaska in March 1964, a magnitude 9.5 disasters that killed 131 people, including 16 in Oregon and California. And it was the same earthquake that caused the most deaths. As the disaster in Japan earlier this year was the tsunami.
The earthquake and resulting tsunami was particularly destructive to the people of Valdez, where 31 people died. A wave came inside after a large part of the earth slid into the entrance to Valdez. The events destroyed dozens of boats and set fire that burned for two weeks. The city was relocated after the Army Corps of Engineers found a site with a more stable ground.
“We have nine different sirens,” said George Keeney, Valdez Fire Chief. “After more than 20 seconds of violent shaking, our auto attendant pressed the alarm button.”
Zidek said the state increased its preparedness for tsunamis and earthquakes from 1964.
“We have seen a series of tsunami warnings and recently have been responding to them in a very timely,” he said. “We build systems with the redundancies, so if one system fails, we have backups in place.”
He said there are multiple ways to distribute a tsunami warning for Alaska, including mailing lists, weather radios, text messaging and sirens.
The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, alerted the community Friday morning. The Center provides tsunami warnings in Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
“The most important warning you will receive is a violent shaking of the earth,” Zidek said. “Residents in coastal communities are well trained.”
Since Alaska is so far away, he said, local emergency officials and municipal authorities have the power to last about when to issue evacuation orders.
And because Alaska is so large, geographically diverse and remote communities have to have a level of preparation that makes the most of the 48 states seem, well, not ready.
“When you call in case of hurricanes down there, we call the storms of winter,” said Keeney. Valdez receives over 300 inches of snow a year, and rarely closes school.
But as the city of 4,000 inhabitants know the catastrophe of 1964; the greatest threat comes from the sea. Keeney said his test sirens dispatchers week, and community stages regular practices.
“I have enough sirens in this community that people complain that you can hear in their bathrooms,” he said.
Keeney said pushes the preparation for all “, from preschool to adults.” Local school have color-coded bags so they can be quickly identified. Everyone is encouraged to have a survival kit with enough food and water for several days. Keeney said he keeps one in his truck.
“While we believe we are prepared and have all failed, Mother Nature can make your day more difficult,” he said.
Zidek said several regions of Alaska experience earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, floods, landslides and storms at sea. Sometimes the wind pushes the water hundreds of feet of sea ice inland, where it can affect the roads and buildings.
“We have events that do not occur anywhere in the country,” he said. “We must be prepared for anything.”
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