1964 M9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake


On March 27, 1964, at 5:36PM (03:36 3/28 UTC), the most impactful Alaskan earthquake, a great earthquake of Mw9.2, occurred in the Prince William Sound region of Alaska.

The scientific impacts of this earthquake were monumental to shaping our understanding of plate tectonics and subduction zone earthquakes, as well as shaping our approaches to understanding and modelling tsunamis. Damage was widespread, but fatalities were fairly small for an event of this size.

Societal impacts from this event were also immense in not only the communities directly impacted by the event, but in communities across Alaska.

Shaking from this earthquake lasted on the order of five minutes. Sustained intense shaking caused countless landslides. Tectonic uplift and subsidence reshaped SouthCentral Alaska.

Map showing the 1964 rupture zone and aftershocks.