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Building codes matter, especially in places where nature puts residents in harms way. ABC News reports:

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rattled Alaska's largest city cracked roads and collapsed highway ramps, but there were no reports of widespread catastrophic damage or collapsed buildings.

There's a good reason for that.

A devastating 1964 Alaska earthquake — the most powerful on record in the United States — led to stricter building codes that helped structures withstand the shifting earth Friday.

"Congratulations to the people of Alaska for being really prepared for this earthquake," U.S. Geological Survey Geophysicist Paul Caruso said Saturday. "Because a magnitude 7.0 in a city like that, you know, it could have been significantly worse."

A seismic expert said Alaska and California use the most stringent standards to help buildings withstand earthquakes.

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