Strong Building Codes Mitigate Alaskan Earthquake

CodeWatcher Anchorage earthquake building codes

Depth of Alaska earthquake — and strong building codes — likely prevented more damage, saved lives.

A 7.0 earthquake eight miles north of Los Angeles, with millions of people within its reach, would likely be devastating, reports Dennis Romero in his NBC News article:

In fact, the 6.7 Northridge Earthquake in 1994 killed 72 people, injured more than 9,000 and caused $25 billion in damage. The epicenter was 20 miles west-northwest of Los Angeles, with an origin measured at 11 miles below the earth’s surface. Friday’s Alaska shaker eight miles north of Anchorage (population 294,356) was nearly three times stronger, yet its impact was relatively minor. …

Similar movement closer to the surface produced Alaska’s “Great 9.2” earthquake of 1964, which the U.S. Geological Survey calls “the most powerful recorded earthquake in U.S. history.”

That temblor had some benefits for modern day inhabitants of Anchorage — mainly that it helped inspire stricter building codes worldwide.

“Building codes mean something,” Alaska Gov. Bill Walker told reporters. “They do have good building codes because they experience lots of large earthquakes,” said USGS seismologist Elizabeth Cochran.

Read the full post here. 

Photo by Accretion Disc