Alaska, Japan Experienced Groundbreaking Quakes

In 1964 Alaska experienced the biggest quake in world history. On Good Friday, March 27 1964, in Prince William Sound, a 9.2 earthquake broke ground. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the quake lasted approximately four minutes, damaging places throughout Alaska, Canada and even Washington. There were 11 aftershocks with a 6.0 magnitude at minimum following the great quake as well as the second-largest tsunami worldwide that left a total of 119 people dead. There was $300-$400 million dollars in damage overall. Due to it being on Good Friday only a total of 131 people died. Dimond science teacher Larurel Stutzer said, “I remember my sister’s school teacher died from falling into one of the cracks that had opened up on the road and then closed back up.” Now, in 2011, on March 11, at 2:46 P.M local Anchorage time, Japan experienced an earthquake similar to the one that occurred in 1964. At an 8.9 magnitude, the earthquake caused severe damage all throughout Japan. The earthquake triggered a massive twenty-three foot tsunami wiping out entire cities. Many countries were put under a tsunami watch after the earthquake had occurred including Alaska and Hawaii. Some Dimond students and staff members vacationing in Hawaii or along the U. S. coast were affected by the tsunami threat. “We all had to get moved up to a higher floor of our hotel and the wave wasn’t really that big,” said Sophomore Sydney Laudon. “Phones were cut off too so all we had was Facebook.” More than 20,000 people have been reported dead since the devastating disaster. Although the death toll is still rising as 21,000 are still reported missing. The quakes both caused massive destruction but yet the number of people who perished is greatly different. People believe that since Alaska’s earthquake occurred on Good Friday many more survived since they were not in school or work. ( “It was about 5:30 p.m., and I was watching TV before dinner. I was three years old,” said Stutzer. Stutzer also went on to say, “I remember the power lines were down, and there were Army guards out in the streets with guns saying you couldn’t go certain directions. We went a while without water and about three weeks without electricity.” Another difference between the two quakes is Japan’s tsunami was much more drastic. The tsunami wiped out towns, killed many and wrecked much of Japan. The tsunami caused nuclear plants to catch fire and release radiation into air and water. A similarity between the two earthquakes was that in both cases, the tsunamis caused the most damage. The earthquakes themselves were not as drastic as the aftermath of the tsunamis. The deaths in Alaska totaled 131 with 119 dead due to the tsunami alone according to NOAA, whereas in Japan the tsunami was also the main reason the death toll began to rise. Both quakes cost millions of dollars in damage and both will have a longlasting impact on history. Relief teams and donations are being made toward Japan and there are many mission teams on their way out to help assist. Back in the 1964 earthquake Alaska was on its own for the most part. Today our disaster relief systems have gotten much more proficient and people are more prepared and willing to help.