Strong earthquake jolts Anchorage, Alaska

Jun 22, 2009 By RACHEL D'ORO , Associated Press Writer
UPDATES magnitude to 5.4 from 5.7; map locates earthquake epicenter near Willow, Alaska

(AP) -- A strong earthquake jolted a swath of southern Alaska on Monday, sending people diving under desks and huddling in doorways but causing little damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.4 magnitude tremor struck about 24 miles from the town of Willow at 11:28 a.m. The rumbling lasted several moments in Anchorage, 58 miles from the epicenter, and was felt as far south as Kenai and north to Fairbanks, a span of 300 miles.

"Things were swinging pretty good and shaking, like pictures on the wall, bottles rattling - and my blood pressure went up at least 20 points," said Pam Rannals, a bartender in Talkeetna, about 30 miles from the epicenter. "We had bears in the parking lot last night and now the earthquake. Those are the talk of the town."

No damage other than fallen dishes has been reported anywhere, and Rannals said even the liquor bottles at her workplace stayed put.

The quake was 26 miles deep, a reason for both the minimal damage and the vast area over which it was felt, according to Janet Herr, an employee fielding many of the calls residents were making to the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center. Southcentral Alaska is the most populated region of the vast state.

The tsunami center reported the magnitude at a slightly weaker 5.3 and said no tsunami was generated. Aftershocks were shaking the area, with one around noon measuring 4.0.

Alaska is seismically active, and has frequent earthquakes although most are too small or too remote to be felt. The last one that measured stronger was a 5.8 in southern Alaska on Jan. 24.

Monday's and its aftershocks had nothing to do with , Alaska's most active volcano with a series of explosions earlier this year. Dave Schneider, a geophysist at the Volcano Observatory, said the volcano's seismic instruments more than 100 miles from the epicenter picked up the temblors, which he enjoyed from his Anchorage office.

"I thought it was kind of fun, but I'm like that," he said.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Major Pacific earthquake prompts tsunami warning

Mar 20, 2009

A major 7.9-magnitude earthquake has shaken the South Pacific nation of Tonga and sending people in low lying areas of Fiji fleeing for higher ground after a tsunami warning, according to officials.

Recommended for you

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

6 hours ago

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

There's something ancient in the icebox

6 hours ago

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...

Image: Grand Canyon geology lessons on view

13 hours ago

The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is a favorite for astronauts shooting photos from the International Space Station, as well as one of the best-known tourist attractions in the world. The steep walls of ...

First radar vision for Copernicus

14 hours ago

Launched on 3 April, ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite has already delivered its first radar images of Earth. They offer a tantalising glimpse of the kind of operational imagery that this new mission will provide ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

out7x
1 / 5 (2) Jun 25, 2009
Please put in some useful information. Was it strike slip or overthrust? Depth? Fault name?

More news stories

There's something ancient in the icebox

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...