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by Wildcat Dianne
June 22, 2010
Earthquake Park's origins began after the 1964 earthquake that destroyed parts of Anchorage and Seward and killed a few people who were in its path. The worst damage was done after the 9.2 quake hit when a tsunami destroyed Seward and other towns along the coast. Along the western part of Anchorage, people had built homes with views of the ocean and Cook Inlet were surprised to find out when they got home from being evacuated during the quake that their homes were now oceanfront property whether they liked it or not. Several homes on 130 acres of land were shifted over 2,000 feet seaward. Seventy-five homes were destroyed and three people died during the earthquake. Earthquake Park was built at the other end of the damage in an area that was undeveloped and is now a place for people to walk and watch for moose on the trails.
When Jo, Larissa and I got out of the Orcamobile when we arrived at Earthquake Park, we were greeted by two arches that marks the entrance to the park. These arches came from a building whose metal framing was bent during the quake. Some of these rods were constructed into an arch that is at the beginning of the park. There are also signs along the trails that depict the history of the earthquake and ensuing tsunami that are very informative and educational.
Jo, Larissa and I spent about an hour in Earthquake Park looking for moose and taking goofy pictures of us in many gymnastic poses. I haven't done gymnastics in 28 years and realized I was pretty out of shape there, but nevertheless, Larissa, Jo, and I had a good time and good laughs along the way. It was here in Earthquake Park that I saw my first three moose in my life, and don't be surprised if you are walking the trails to be sharing your walking space with Bullwinkle's cousins.
Earthquake Park is free to enter and is open from dawn to dusk seven days a week. It's a fun and educational short trip for all who want to hike on the ocean front paths, search for moose and wildlife, or learn about the infamous 1964 Alaska Earthquake.
From journal The Moose Are Loose In Alaska!
District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
August 18, 2004
On Good Friday in March, 1964, Anchorage and much of the rest of south central Alaska was hit with a violent earthquake, measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale. In four minutes of shaking, the landscape was forever changed, as large portions of land sunk in elevation, and entire neighborhoods were destroyed in landslides. South of Anchorage, the coastal ports of Seward and Whittier were devastated by tsunamis that were caused by the earthquake. And in Anchorage, thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed as the ground beneath them collapsed.
Earthquake Park was created years later in an area that was a subdivision before the quake. The park is designed to demonstrate the power of the earthquake and highlights the massive landslides that occurred along the Knik Arm shoreline. A series of interpretive signs, sculptures, and kiosks tell the story of the earthquake and feature before and after photos and maps. These displays map out the current bluffline, where the high ground above Knik Arm drops down to the water, which was created during the earthquake, versus the original bluffline, which was in some cases where the water now is. The park itself is very forested now, making it somewhat hard to see much of the landslide area. However, there are several "unofficial" paths leading down from the park's developed areas into the landslide areas. A trek down these steep paths may require a little scrambling, but is worth it to be able to see the unusual landscape the earthquake created. However, be very careful when going into the lower areas of the park. The ground is still unstable and it is very easy to fall and possibly slide down the steep slopes. Also, do not go out onto the mudflats along the waterfront under any circumstances. The thick mud is like quicksand, and people have died when they got stuck in the mud and were not able to be rescued before the tide came in, drowning them.
Earthquake Park is a very interesting place to visit in Anchorage if you want to know more about the 1964 earthquake and see the effects of it firsthand. Also, the park is located on the popular Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, providing hike and bike access to downtown Anchorage and areas to the southwest adjacent to the Anchorage airport. This trail is very scenic and a great place to get out and enjoy a pleasant summer afternoon in Anchorage.
From journal The Seward Highway, America's Most Scenic Byway