Powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake strikes Alaska near Anchorage

Friday, September 26, 2014
By Paul Martin

September 26, 2014

UNEAU, Alaska – A 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Alaska on Thursday near Anchorage, but the U.S. Geological Survey said there was little likelihood of casualties or severe damage from shaking generated by the deeply rooted tremor. The agency said the quake’s epicenter was located 81 miles northwest of Anchorage, Alaska’s most populous city, and originated at a depth of 63.2 miles below the surface, which would have lessened its impact. “It was the earth rolling. It looked like I had double vision going on. Little bit of a vertigo,” said Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters, adding there were no initial reports of injuries of damage. A magnitude 6.2 quake is considered strong and is generally capable of causing severe damage, though such temblors are not unusual in seismically active Alaska. Strong shaking was reported northwest of Anchorage, with mostly lighter rumbling elsewhere across a wide region.

But the USGS ranked the quake as having a low likelihood of causing shaking-related fatalities or economic losses, and the National Weather Service said no tsunami was expected to be generated by the tremor. Anchorage police said there were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries, just building and car alarms going off. A spokeswoman for the Matanuska-Susitna borough said the minivan she had been parked in at the time suddenly began rocking. “It was a pretty long earthquake,” the spokeswoman, Patty Sullivan, said from her office in Palmer, a few miles from where the earthquake hit. “Co-workers in the administration building experienced rocking and a violent jerk, a couple of them fled the building,” Sullivan said. “A couple books and knickknacks fell off the shelves, for some.”

Engineers were responding to reports of minor rockfall along a highway south of Anchorage, the Alaska Department of Transportation said. Photographs on social media websites showed offices with books, paper and chairs strewn about and products fallen from store shelves. The Alaska Dispatch News newspaper reported the temblor briefly interrupted a news conference being held by U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan. –Chicago Tribune

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