The Anchorage hydrologic system was greatly affected by the seismic shock. Immediate but temporary effects included increased stream discharge, seiche action on lakes, and fluctuations in ground-water levels. Generally, ground-water levels were residually lowered after the initial period of fluctuation. This lowering is attributed either to changes in the discharge zones offshore or to a change in the permeability of the aquifers by seismically induced strain. Water supplies were disrupted temporarily by snowslides on streams and by sanding or turbidity in wells. Salt-water encroachment to wells on Fire Island seems to have increased. The approximate 3.7-foot lowering of land level and the diminished artesian head may permit further salt-water encroachment. Increased pore pressure in the Pleistocene Bootlegger Cove Clay led to liquefaction in silt and sand lenses that contributed to the disastrous bluff landslides. Measurements after the earthquake indicate that most pore pressures are declining, whereas some remain high or are increasing. Subsidence in the area was caused principally by tectonic readjustment, but differential compaction within the Bootlegger Cove Clay contributed to subsidences estimated to be as much as 0.6 foot beneath Anchorage.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Effects of the March 1964 Alaska earthquake on the hydrology of the Anchorage area, Alaska: Chapter B in The Alaska earthquake, March 27, 1964: effects hydrologic regimen
U.S. Government Printing Office
Menlo ParkCalif. Office-Earthquake Science Center
Report: p. B1-B18; Plate: 37.13 inches x 41.12 inches