New videos released of 9.2-magnitude Alaska quake

The U.S. Geological Survey released new videos about the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 27, 1964 to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the largest earthquake ever recorded in the U.S.

The videos feature USGS Geologist Emeritus George Plafker who was one of the first geologists on the scene 50 years ago to assess the damage and help with plans for rebuilding. The quake killed 139 people.

While the probability of a repeat earthquake of the same magnitude is very low, even a smaller quake of magnitude 7 or 8 can do a significant amount of damage.

The videos include rare vintage film footage and photos of the earthquake damage, combined with modern interviews with some of the same scientists who first investigated the magnitude 9.2 quake.

"This is an incredible story. We've got great old film footage, revolutionary science and some remarkable geologists who've really made a difference," said USGS video producer Stephen M. Wessells. "It's been exciting to learn how two generations of scientists have sorted out the details and clarified the threats."

The new four-minute video, "Magnitude 9.2: The 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake" as well as an 11-minute extended version called "1964 Quake: The Great Alaska Earthquake," are available online.

For more information about the earthquake, visit

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