Two Major Earthquakes Rattle Alaska; Strongest Since 1964's 9.2

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Two major earthquakes struck Anchorage, Alaska Friday morning, hitting just as businesses, schools and stores were opening for the day, sending frightened residents, into the streets, diving for cover and knocking local televisions stations off the air.

According to the U.S Geological Survey the more powerful quake, a 7.0 surface quake was centered seven miles from Anchorage striking at 8:30am. Moderate and heavy shaking went on for nearly 30 seconds and was centered in the Anchorage area.

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Light shaking was reported to the north and south of the epicenter. Significant ground failure was reported within the radius of the quake's origination point. No fatalities have been reported.

Residents in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, with a population of 100,000, were going about a normal Friday when the quake jolted and began to shake. Security and video cameras, from television stations, the airport, in businesses and schools, show slamming pictures and heavy swaying objects, broken windows, emptied store shelves.

Even as minimal structure damage was reported with only one major apartment complex suffering visible cracks, structure will need to be inspected to determine additional damage.

The tumbler caused widespread power outages, gas lines dislodged and slipping decks. The local television knocked off the air during the quake was first to regain power and report on the scene.

The U.S. Geological Survey has determined there is significant liquefaction, (the strength, stiffness and binding agent of the soil), triggered by this quake.

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Scenic routes along Vine Road south of Wasilla, Alaska, outside the city suffered the most significant damages with portion of the highway disappearing. Large fissures, and deep crevices can be seen by air. Fortunately the quake's timing, just after the traditional start of working/school day, little traffic was affected.

Local residents taped, recorded, tweeted and used Social Media to blast images of the quake around the world.

@Chase_AK recorded the damage when the ceiling fell and shelves collapsed in a grocery store.

A Tsunami warning was issued and later cancelled. The second aftershock, a 5.8, quake hit about six minutes after the first. Strong enough to set off metal detectors in the Nesbett Courthouse where the building was under evacuation orders.

The US Geological Survey expect aftershock to continue with a 3% chance that one or more would be larger than 7.0. A Magnitude 3 is expected to be the highest level of aftershock.

  • More earthquakes than usual (called aftershocks) will continue to occur near the mainshock.
  • When there are more earthquakes, the chance of a large earthquake is greater which means that the chance of damage is greater.
  • The USGS advises everyone to be aware of the possibility of aftershocks, especially when in or around vulnerable structures such as unreinforced masonry buildings.
  • This earthquake could be part of a sequence. An earthquake sequence may have larger and potentially damaging earthquakes in the future, so remember to: Drop, Cover, and Hold on.

Alaska Quake Strongest Since 1964 Good Friday Mega Quake

Alaska is considered the most seismic active state in the United States. Sitting on the Ring of Fire, the tectonic plates that form an active ring around the globe, Alaska has endured the most damaging quake ever recorded in U.S. history and the second most powerful earthquake record in world history.

A 9.2, megathrust earthquake, just 15miles below the surface, lasting nearly five minutes, 4.38, struck Prince William Sound, in 1964 triggering a Pacific wide Tsunami and causing widespread and extensive damage across the region.

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According to Wikipedia, "600 miles of fault ruptured at once and moved up to 60 feet (about 500 years of stress buildup)." The 4:38 shaking caused landslides and soil liquefaction and was did extensive damage to areas 200 miles to the south, near Kodiak, which were raised 30feet other areas near Girdwood and Portage dropped as much as eight feet. The magnitude of this quake not only caused massive and widespread damage it significantly altered the topography shifting land masses.

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