Title: The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet
Author: Henry Fountain
Publisher: Crown 2017
Genre: U.S. History
Rating: 4/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Perpetual (nonfiction)
At 5:36 p.m. on March 27, 1964, a magnitude 9.2. earthquake – the second most powerful in world history – struck the young state of Alaska. The violent shaking, followed by massive tsunamis, devastated the southern half of the state and killed more than 130 people. A day later, George Plafker, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, arrived to investigate. His fascinating scientific detective work in the months that followed helped confirm the then-controversial theory of plate tectonics.
In a compelling tale about the almost unimaginable brute force of nature, New York Times science journalist Henry Fountain combines history and science to bring the quake and its aftermath to life in vivid detail. With deep, on-the-ground reporting from Alaska, often in the company of George Plafker, Fountain shows how the earthquake left its mark on the land and its people -- and on science.
Picked this one up on a whim from the Lucky Day shelf at the library. I loved a good history and this one's cover intrigued me. I knew little of the 1964 Alaska quake or really the history of our understanding of earthquakes. Fountain does have quite the storytelling dexterity as Erik Larson, but I must say that this slim volume was informative and engaging. I learned a lot about the history of earthquakes and our understanding plus how the theory of plate tectonics really came into being. George Plafker is a fascinating person. I loved hearing about his personal journey in science interwoven with the Alaska quake. Definitely a great read!
Next up on the TBR pile: