Today marks the 44th anniversary of the devastating Alaska earthquake, the largest ever recorded in North America. On March 27, 1964 the quake, sometimes known as the Good Friday Earthquake, pulverized Prince William Sound and the surrounding areas. The event lasted approximately 4 minutes and had a moment magnitude of 9.2 Mw, which translates to 8.4 on the Richter scale. Life magazine reported that the earthquake unleashed "more than 2,000 times the power of the mightiest nuclear bomb ever detonated."
Though the most heavily damaged Alaska city was probably Anchorage, located about 75 miles north of the earthquake's epicenter, a number of other cities and towns were badly damaged. In addition, the earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that struck the shores of Canada, Washington, Oregon and California. In fact, the tsunami caused deaths as far away as Crescent City, California where 11 people were killed after a 21 foot wave swept into the town's harbor.
The US Geological Survey has an extensive online collection of photographs of the damage done in Alaska. The Alaska Digital Archives also features an extensive array of photos and short film clips of the earthquake's aftermath.
If you have any interest in songs based on real life tragedies, a couple more can be found here.