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Professional Paper 543–B

Geomorphic Effects of the Earthquake of March 27, 1964 in the Martin-Bering Rivers Area, Alaska

By Samuel J. Tuthill and Wilson M. Laird

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF 23.2 MB)Abstract

The Alaska earthquake of March 27, 1964, caused widespread geomorphic changes in the Martin-Bering Rivers area-900 square miles of uninhabited mountains, alluvial flatlands, and marshes north of the Gulf of Alaska, and east of the Copper River. This area is at lat 60°30’ N. and long 144°22’ W., 32 miles east of Cordova, and approximately 130 miles east-southeast of the epicenter of the earthquake.

The geomorphic effects observed were: (1) earthquake-induced ground fractures, (2) mudvent deposits, (3) “earthquake-fountain” craters, (4) subsidence, (5) mudcones, (6) avalanches, (7) subaqueous landslides, (8) turbidity changes in ice-basined lakes on the Martin River glacier, (9) filling of ice-walled sinkholes, (10) gravel-coated snow cones, (11) lake ice fractures, and (12) uplift accompanied the earthquake.

In addition to geomorphic effects, the earthquake affected the animal populations of the area. These include migratory fish, terrestrial mollusks, fur-bearing animals, and man.

The Alaska earthquake clearly delineated areas of alluvial fill, snow and rock avalanche corridors, and deltas of the deeper lakes as unsuitable for future construction.

First posted October 31, 2012
Revised August 13, 2013

For additional information:
Contact Information, Menlo Park, Calif.
   Office—Earthquake Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 977
Menlo Park, CA 94025

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Suggested citation:

Tuthill, S.J., and Laird, W.M., 1966, Geomorphic effects of the earthquake of March 27, 1964 in the Martin-Bering Rivers area, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 543–B, 29 p.,




Geomorphic Effects of the Alaska Earthquake

Effects of the Earthquake upon Animal Populations

References Cited

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