Scientists may not be very good at predicting when earthquakes will happen, but they do have a good idea of where damage is most likely to occur in the Anchorage bowl. The city publishes a seismic map that shows what areas are considered the most stable and which are not.
Ross Noffsinger, acting chief of the city's building safety division, said the map was originally published after the 1964 earthquake and has not been updated much since. He said it's meant to show where there is likely to be ground failure after another large quake.
But some of the damage from Anchorage's most recent earthquake doesn't track with what is on the map. For example, Turnagain, which sustained some of the most damage from the 1964 quake, was barely touched by the recent quake. Noffsinger said that's because the Nov. 30 quake didn't shake long enough or hard enough to liquefy the silty soils that caused Turnagain homes to slide toward the inlet.