Living with Earthquakes

As Alaskans we live with earthquakes every day, even though we may not feel them as often as they occur. On March 10, 2011 a 9.0 earthquake shook Japan and surrounding countries felt the aftermath. A similar experience happened to Alaska in 1964 when a 9.2 earthquake caused severe damage to Alaskan cities. When living with earthquakes, there is no way for our society to be totally prepared. Unlike living in hurricane territory where people have a chance to prepare ahead of time, people living in an earthquake zone have no way to be ready for the upcoming damage. Jim Anderson, a teacher at Dimond High School, had this to say about the earthquake and preparedness, “ I love the weather in Japan is experiencing, I wish I was over there. But there is no way for us to be prepared for the next big earthquake.” Tina Phanmanivong, a senior at Dimond, had some good advice for being prepared for earthquakes, “ I know what to do when a big earthquake comes because over the years school has prepared me.” Kimmy Jackson, a senior at Dimond, has this to say about living with earthquakes in Alaska, “ I don’t think about them often.” The earthquake in 1964 that hit closest to home has some people recalling what it was like to live in a 9.2 earthquake. Karen Hawkins was only six and living in Fairbanks at the time recalls what she remembers from the aftermath of the earthquake. “I remember the Chena river overflowing into our house and my dad carrying me on his shoulders in waist high water. That earthquake caused a great amount of damage to Fairbanks, but not as much as it did in Anchorage. I hope I do not have to live through another experience like that.” Even though Alaskans live with earthquakes everyday, we can never be prepared for a massive earthquake like the recent one in Japan, we just need to be aware that they occur.