The moment magnitude (M) 7.9 Denali Fault earthquake in Alaska of 3 November 2002 triggered an unusual pattern of landslides and liquefaction effects. The landslides were primarily rock falls and rock slides that ranged in volume from a few cubic meters to the 40 million-cubic-meter rock avalanche that covered much of the McGinnis Glacier. Landslides were concentrated in a narrow zone ???30 km wide that straddled the fault rupture zone over its entire 300 km length. Large rock avalanches all clustered at the western end of the rupture zone where acceleration levels are reported to have been the highest. Liquefaction effects, consisting of sand blows, lateral spreads, and settlement, were widespread within susceptible alluvial deposits extending from Fairbanks eastward several hundred kilometers. The liquefaction effects displayed a pattern of increasing concentration and severity from west to east and extended well beyond the zone of landslides, which is unusual. The contrasting patterns formed by the distributions of landslides and liquefaction effects initially seemed to be inconsistent; however, preliminary analyses of strong-motion records from the earthquake offer a possible explanation for the unusual ground-failure patterns that are related to three subevents that have been discerned from the earthquake records.
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Landslides and liquefaction triggered by the M 7.9 denali fault earthquake of 3 November 2002