Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Earthquakes in Alaska

May 31, 1996

Earthquake risk is high in much of the southern half of Alaska, but it is not the same everywhere. This map shows the overall geologic setting in Alaska that produces earthquakes. The Pacific plate (darker blue) is sliding northwestward past southeastern Alaska and then dives beneath the North American plate (light blue, green, and brown) in southern Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula, and the Aleutian Islands. Most earthquakes are produced where these two plates come into contact and slide past each other. Major earthquakes also occur throughout much of interior Alaska as a result of collision of a piece of crust with the southern margin.