Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Anchorage's Next Big Earthquake Could Be Worse Than 1964, And Strike At Any Time; Port Of Anchorage Particularly Vulnerable

KTVA Channel 11 has aired a three-part special report which suggests that despite the phenomenal strength of Anchorage's 1964 earthquake, the next one in the region could even be worse -- and could strike any time. And it wouldn't necessarily have to be the same fault -- much previous concern has been expressed about the Castle Mountain Fault which runs through the Palmer-Wasilla Corridor.

Most vulnerable is the Port of Anchorage; of the 2,000 piles supporting the port, at least half are corroded and only about 20 percent of those have been repaired with metal sleeves. Todd Cowles, Port of Anchorage engineer, says that they repair about 20 pilings a year and it would take us another 10 years to probably fix all of the ones that are suspect. While there are secondary means of transport, the Port supplies two-thirds of the fuel for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and 100 percent of the fuel for Elmendorf Air Force Base.

Next most vulnerable is Turnagain and Bootlegger's Cove. Ground failure caused much of the Turnagain neighborhood to liquefy and fall into Cook Inlet in 1964. Finally, some parts of downtown are also still vulnerable. Source documentation referenced during the reports:

-- Anchorage Bowl Ground Failure Susceptibility Map available HERE.
-- Building Safety website HERE.
-- Building Safety - Design Data HERE.

KTVA Channel 11 news videos embedded below after the jump. If you have low bandwith, these videos can buffer badly, worse than KTUU or YouTube:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

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