ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey have solved a 50-year natural science mystery: the undersea source of tsunami waves that devastated a remote Alaska village following the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake.
Underwater landslides at depths of 820 to 1,150 feet much deeper than those that caused tsunamis affecting other communities sent killing waves toward the Prince William Sound community of Chenega, where 23 of 75 residents died and all but two buildings were destroyed.
The great quake rumpled the ocean floor like a rug, creating a trans-ocean tsunami that sent deadly waves down the West Coast.
In Valdez, now the terminus of the trans-Alaska pipeline, water at first retreated from shore in response to an underwater slide, then swept back in, smashing a freighter at the city dock and killing longshoremen and children who had come to meet it.
The 1964 quake and the tsunamis played a role in the formation of the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, renamed the National Tsunami Warning Center, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.