Ground Failure Triggered By Shaking during the November 30, 2018, Magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, Earthquake

Open-File Report 2020-1043
By: , and 



We developed an initial inventory of ground failure features from the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage earthquake. This inventory of 153 features is from ground-based observations soon after the earthquake (December 5–10) that include the presence or absence of liquefaction, landslides, and individual crack traces of lateral spreads and incipient landslides. This is not a complete inventory and simply shows general trends and examples of types and distribution of ground failures documented. Overflight observations (December 1–6) documented landslide and liquefaction presence or absence within the Chugach Mountains and along Cook Inlet in regions inaccessible to vehicles, which greatly expanded the geographic scope of this reconnaissance. Field-mapped ground-failure observations have been augmented with a set of 565 georeferenced and annotated images from both field and overflight reconnaissance cataloging additional ground-failure presence or absence from the Anchorage earthquake.

Tidal erosion, fresh snowfall, limited daylight, and adverse flying conditions contributed significantly to the uncertainty and incompleteness of ground-failure observations during this reconnaissance. Notably, substantial liquefaction features at the mouths of the Little Susitna River (December 1) and Ingram Creek (December 5) were absent during subsequent overlapping missions (December 6 and 9, respectively) because of tidal action. A large rockfall observed on December 1 on Rainbow Peak was not observed during a subsequent December 5 overflight because of snow cover, which suggests that the general lack of observations of landsliding within the Chugach Mountains is uncertain.

Suggested Citation

Grant, A.R.R., Jibson, R.W., Witter, R.C., Allstadt, K.E., Thompson, E.M., and Bender, A.M., 2020, Ground failure triggered by shaking during the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1043, 21 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Observations
  • Discussion
  • Summary
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Ground failure triggered by shaking during the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2020-1043
DOI 10.3133/ofr20201043
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description Report: iv, 21 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Alaska
City Anchorage
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details