Genie Chance and the Great Alaska Earthquake: An Update


This week, The Daily is revisiting some of our favorite episodes of the year and checking in on what has happened in the time since they first ran.

When Alaska was hit by a devastating earthquake in 1964, it was the voice of Genie Chance — a journalist, wife and mother — that held the state together in the aftermath.

In the episode, we heard about sociologists from Ohio State University’s Disaster Research Center rushing to Anchorage to study residents’ behavior.

Today, Jon Mooallem, who brought us Genie’s story in May, speaks to a sociologist from the University of Delaware to make sense of the current moment and how it compares with the fallout of the Great Alaska Earthquake.

Guest: Jon Mooallem, writer at large for The New York Times Magazine and author of “This Is Chance!,” a book about the aftermath of the earthquake.

For an exclusive look at how the biggest stories on our show come together, subscribe to our newsletter. You can read the latest edition here.

Background Reading:

  • For our Opinion section, Jon Mooallem wrote about the lessons of the 1964 earthquake.
  • Listen to Jon talk about his experience writing and researching for his book about the aftermath of the disaster on an episode of The Times’s Book Review podcast.

For more information on today’s episode, visit

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