Doug O'Harra reports on the Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science September conference, "Extreme Events: Understanding Perturbations to the Physical and Biological Environment," in this Anchorage Daily News story: "Catastrophes shaped Alaska. GROUND ZERO: Conferees discuss effects of jolts by natural forces". Among the papers, one described the following disaster:
"For thousands of years, ancient Aleuts thrived in villages and family groups spread across the western Alaska Peninsula. Their resourceful society relied on sockeye salmon supplemented with birds and marine mammals. Archaeological digs have uncovered intricate carvings suggesting these people consulted shamans to interpret the forces of their salmon-centered world.
"Then, about 300 B.C., a large earthquake dropped the land nine to 15 feet, altering their lives on a scale almost unthinkable in modern experience.
" "This led to the complete inundation and complete destruction of almost every sockeye salmon lake on the western Alaska Peninsula," said Herb Maschner, the lead archaeologist in a 10-year study of ancient Aleut culture and its environment. "As you can imagine, this would be a bad day if you were a sockeye salmon fisherman..."
"...Food sources were almost certainly obliterated, kayaks lost, belongings awash in the next high tide. But the survivors were resilient.
The archaeological record tells us that they regrouped into a few big villages, creating towns with an estimated 1,000 residents, larger than any other Far North settlements of the age. Driven by basic survival, they switched from salmon to marine mammals. And the culture began to glorify hunters and their tools...