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On March 27, 1964, a 9.2-magnitude earthquake struck south-central Alaska. The quake fell on Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday), and was named after the religious holiday.
 
The Good Friday earthquake was a megathrust quake. Megathrust earthquakes occur in subduction zones, where one tectonic plate violently slides beneath another. Off the coast of Alaska, the Pacific plate jolted beneath the North American plate.
 
The Alaskan coast was largely unprepared for the Good Friday earthquake. Houses, schools, and other buildings collapsed. Water and sewage pipelines were destroyed. Landslides wrecked electrical and gas lines. The quake resulted in several tsunamis, which caused damage as far away as California, Hawaii, and even Japan. More than 125 people died.
abandoned
Adjective

deserted.

Noun

edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

collapse
Verb

to fall apart completely.

damage
Noun

harm that reduces usefulness or value.

destroy
Verb

to ruin or make useless.

earthquake
Noun

the sudden shaking of Earth's crust caused by the release of energy along fault lines or from volcanic activity.

forest
Noun

ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.

Noun

body of land surrounded by water.

jolt
Verb

to roughly and suddenly shake something.

Noun

the fall of rocks, soil, and other materials from a mountain, hill, or slope.

megathrust earthquake
Noun

earthquake that occurs in subduction zones (convergent boundaries), where one tectonic plate slides beneath another.

permanent
Adjective

constant or lasting forever.

pipeline
Noun

series of pipes used to transport liquids or gases over long distances.

root
Noun

part of a plant that secures it in the soil, obtains water and nutrients, and often stores food made by leaves.

sewage
Noun

liquid and solid waste material from homes and businesses.

subduction zone
Noun

area where one tectonic plate slides under another.

tectonic plate
Noun

massive slab of solid rock made up of Earth's lithosphere (crust and upper mantle). Also called lithospheric plate.

tsunami
Noun

ocean waves triggered by an earthquake, volcano, or other movement of the ocean floor.