Fairbanks Group
7 December 2008
Jennifer Malic
8th Grade

                                           Seven Paragraph PBL Essay
           Early morning on July 25, a disaster struck the city of Fairbanks, Alaska. A 7.9 earthquake lasting fifty seconds had hit a town about 75 miles away, and shockwaves left in the aftermath traveled toward Fairbanks. This triggered pipe breaks and created mudslides that were rapidly approaching the town. During this time, the shores dropped, allowing water to jolt enough to create a Tsunami that was rushing toward the Alaskan shore at an alarming rate. They soon hit and the water traveled two hundred miles inward, destroying everything in it‘s path. Soon after, yet another earthquake hit the state, preventing patrol and service vehicles from reaching Fairbanks. The mudslides finally reach the town and bury everything under four feet of mud. One hundred and seventy two people are trapped or injured and three hundred and thirty one are dead. Fairbanks has been ripped off its very foundation.

           Fairbanks itself is a city located near the Chena River, and it is the largest city in the interior region of Alaska. Alaska’s shore itself lays on the edge of two of the earths tectonic plates, which was most likely a contributing factor to the two earthquakes. The second would be that Alaska is also parallel to the ring of fire, a chain of underwater volcanoes of which a part is south of the Aleutian Islands. When the volcanoes either erupt or shake, it causes the tectonic plates to crash together and creates earthquakes. Incidentally, this could also be related to the Tsunami, seeing as the shore lowering was one main cause if it and the plates may lower if one is pushed under another. 

            Due to both the earthquakes and tsunami, many hazards had been introduced into Fairbanks. The pipelines that had been broken spilled oil onto the streets and into the wildlife preserves. Flooding had been brought on by both the tsunami and minimal damage in dams caused by earthquakes, causing the town to become flooded, which in turn contaminated the water supply. Both of the original natural disasters brought on mudslides, burying the town in mud. And under all the rubble, water and mud, the injured and dead were trapped, soon to be releasing and catching bacterial viruses. Fairbanks had become a hazardous wasteland. 

           To fix this, we must first begin cleaning up the oil spills as soon as we could to prevent them from destroying the wildlife, repairing pipelines along the way. During this time we would also be digging up the buried houses, which would free the injured and locate the dead bodies. This would also enable us to reach animals and other living things that could cause disease or infection, including things released by the dam breaks. After doing this, we would begin to relocate the mud we dig up, using it for many things, including filling holes and ditches left by the earthquakes. It’s at this time we can begin to repair the underground power lines and other dangerous and demanding problems in Fairbanks. Other such problems would be fixing the damage of the dams on the river. Fairbanks will need copious amounts of work to be cleaned.

           We propose these solutions because they are the quickest ways to help the town without letting any other hazards occur, like how we will relocate the animals to stop spread of disease. In addition to being quick, all of our solutions we have chosen because they benefit the town in some way. In example, we use what we have to help with the cleanup and repair of what has broken, like the dams.We also chose to move the mud from the mudslide like we did because it will benefit the town. Fairbanks is our first priority at this time. 

           We would have to work fast to begin the cleanup process. For example, the oil spill. Oil is able to seep into the ground and infect the soil at an alarming rate. It is best to quickly take steps to shut off the oil supply and repair the pipes at the same time, absorb the spilled oil, and use biological remediation to disinfect the soil. That is why we choose it to be done this way and first. Our second action, locating animals, injured, and deceased, is chosen because if not dealt with it would release bacteria and cause people to become sick. This would create more problems for us, which is why it is our second priority. Thirdly, we must relocate the water from the tsunami, giving us the ability to clean the drinking water and other water supplies in Fairbanks. This is important because of the need and demand for water. As we relocate the water, we would also be relocating the mud from the mudslide, using the dirt to fill holes from earthquakes. This would both clear the land and fill ditches left behind by the earthquake. After the relocation of the water and mud, we would be able to begin repairing underground electrical lines and other dangerous or demanding problems. 

            Our solutions may seem complicated, but they’re the safest for Fairbanks’ future, as we have only the future of Fairbanks in our interests. We want to be of service and help Fairbanks in its recovery and rebuilding, as we aim to make Fairbanks a better town than it used to be.