Thursday, July 03, 2008

Turnagain Heights

In 1964 a large subdivision, perched on the Bootlegger Cove clay and within sight of downtown Anchorage, collapsed in a heap onto the shoreline of Knik Arm. Earthquake Park marks the site and the coastal bike trail wanders through the slide itself. There are sag ponds, hummocky terrain, a clear headscarp, all the classic signs of a big landslide, but no obvious evidence left of the homes. The shoreline is marked by a marshy beach and lack of any clearly defined bluff. I have no idea where the modern shoreline is in relation to the pre-1964 one, but apparently the slide extended well out across the beach.

I remember seeing pictures of the destroyed homes in magazines as a kid and later in geology textbooks. It's fascinating to see the real thing. I expected more vertical relief - it's a pretty subtle feature compared to what I'm used to on Puget Sound - though it clearly covered a lot of area. It really spread laterally as much as fell downhill.

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