Magnitude-7.1 earthquake jolts Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A magnitude-7.1 quake knocked items off shelves and walls in Alaska, jolting the nerves of residents in this earthquake-prone region.

See Full Article

There were no reports of injuries, but four homes were lost to explosions or fire following the quake.

Alaska's state seismologist, Michael West, called Sunday's early morning quake the strongest in the state's south-central region in decades. Alaska often has larger or more powerful earthquakes, such as a 7.9 last year in the remote Aleutian Islands.

"However, last night's earthquake is significant because it was close enough to Alaska's population centres," West said, adding that aftershocks could continue for weeks.

The earthquake was widely felt by Anchorage residents. But the Anchorage and Valdez police departments said they hadn't received any reports of injury or significant damage.

The earthquake struck at about 1:30 a.m. Alaska time and was centred 53 miles west of Anchor Point in the Kenai Peninsula, which is about 160 miles southwest of Anchorage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Vincent Nusunginya, 34, of Kenai said he was at his girlfriend's house when the quake hit.

"It started out as a shaking and it seemed very much like a normal earthquake. But then it started to feel like a normal swaying, like a very smooth side-to-side swaying," said Nusunginya, director of audience at the Peninsula Clarion newspaper. "It was unsettling. Some things got knocked over, but there was no damage."

Two homes in Kenai were destroyed in gas leak explosions and the other two were fully engulfed before firefighters determined it was safe enough from gas for them to enter the homes, Kenai battalion chief Tony Prior said. He said firefighters focused on keeping the flames from those homes from spreading to nearby houses.

"No injuries. Thank God," he said. "The second one was a major explosion. We're fortunate that no one was hurt."

About 30 homes were evacuated, and some people took shelter at the Kenai National Guard Armory.

Workers with the gas utility were examining the remaining homes Sunday afternoon with the goal of getting displaced residents back in their homes later in the day.

The USGS initially reported the quake as a magnitude-7.1, but downgraded shortly afterward to magnitude-6.8 before raising it back to 7.1.

"Some earthquakes have challenges associated with them, they are unusual or hard to monitor," West said. "This is neither of them. Southern Alaska is well instrumented, and this earthquake is of the style and type that we would expect in this area."

The biggest aftershock Sunday was 4.7, and West said a magnitude-5 or magnitude-6 aftershock is possible.

There were reports of scattered power outages from the Matanuska Electric Association and Chugach Electric in the Anchorage area. The Homer Electric Association reported on its website that about 4,800 customers were without power early Sunday in the Kenai Peninsula.

The Alaska Department of Transportation reported on its Facebook page that there was road damage near the community of Kasilof, on the Kenai Peninsula.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said in a statement Sunday that he was relieved there wasn't more damage. He urged all Alaskans to have a response plan for when a major natural disaster takes place.

The hashtag .akquake trended early Sunday on Twitter as people shared their experiences and posted photos of items that had fallen off walls and shelves.

Andrea Conter, 50, of Anchorage, said she was surprised by the quake's strength.

"This was a wild one," the former Southern California resident said. "I looked at the closed-circuit cameras at work and it lasted over 50 seconds and that is considerable for an earthquake."

"When I bought my house in Anchorage I had a geological map that shows what are the sturdiest parts of town and there were a few where I said, 'If there's an earthquake, that house is toast,"' Conter said. "That's how I chose my house. Literally. Drove my real estate agent nuts. But, I didn't have one thing fall in my house. It was kind of clutch."

Andrew Sayers, 26, of Kasilof was watching television when the quake struck.

"The house started to shake violently. The TV we were watching fell over, stuff fell off the walls," he said. "Dishes were crashing, and we sprinted toward the doorway."

Later, he was driving to his mother's home when he came across a stretch of road that was damaged in the quake.

"We launched over this crack in the road. It's a miracle we didn't bust our tires on it," he said.

After reaching his mother's house, Sayers checked on his grandparents, who live about a mile away.

"No damage, except their Christmas tree fell over," he said.

Associated Press writers Rashah McChesney in Juneau and Michelle A. Monroe and Tarek Hamada in Phoenix contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'She has a nice smile': Trump compliments Irish journalist

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump interrupted a telephone conversation with Ireland’s prime minister to compliment an Irish journalist on her “nice smile.” Caitriona Perry is a Washington correspondent and U.S. bureau chief for RTE News-Ireland. She was in the Oval Office with other journalists to document the Tuesday call. Source
  • Appalachian wrestling's 'Progressive Liberal' might be the most hated man in sports entertainment

    World News Toronto Sun
    It was a strange sight, even for the "sport" of professional wrestling. A wrestler holding a microphone faced an Appalachian crowd before a match and began unleashing a torrent of insults, the nature of which seemed out of place at a pro wrestling tournament. Source
  • Supervisors suspended amid NYC subway derailment probe

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- A subway train derailment that injured nearly three dozen people and sparked major delays is being blamed on human error, not a track defect, and two supervisors have been suspended while the matter is investigated. Source
  • Solar eclipse preparation keeping rural Kentucky town busy

    World News Toronto Sun
    HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. — Cross over the old Louisville & Nashville Railroad in this town remembered for its Civil War encampment and you’ll see the first signs — there’s fresh anticipation in the rural areas that will be prime viewing locations for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse to sweep the United States in 99 years. Source
  • Man jailed after drywall powder mistaken for blow

    World News Toronto Sun
    What does drywall residue and blow have in common? Cops in Oviedo, Fla., think it's one in the same. It's why a handyman in the Sunshine State recently spent several months behind bars. Drug charges against Karlos Cashe were dropped this week after laboratory tests on substances found in the man's vehicle showed there were no drugs at the time of his arrest. Source
  • Lionel Desmond's family encouraged by meeting with N.S. health authority

    Canada News CTV News
    ANTIGONISH, N.S. -- A relative of a former Canadian soldier who killed three members of his family and himself six months ago says based on an internal review, he feels Nova Scotia's health authority dealt with Lionel Desmond's case "to the best of their ability. Source
  • Think lessons mean your kids are safe in the water? Think again

    Canada News CTV News
    Summer is here, school will soon be out and Canada’s short swimming season will be in full swing. But first, a warning: Swimming lessons for young children can result in parents who are too confident about youngsters’ ability to keep from drowning, says a child safety expert. Source
  • Prince William, Prince Harry to attend birthday service at their mother's grave

    World News CTV News
    LONDON - Prince William, his wife, Kate, and Prince Harry will attend a private service at the late Princess Diana's grave on what would have been her 56th birthday. In a brief statement, Kensington Palace said Wednesday that the July 1 service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and attended by Diana's family. Source
  • Preparations underway to bring dead whales ashore on P.E.I.

    Canada News CBC News
    The Canadian Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are getting ready in western P.E.I. to bring ashore at least one of six right whales recently found dead.Toxic algae may have caused the deaths of 6 right whales in St. Source
  • Trump says 'oui' to French leader's Bastille Day invitation

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump plans to celebrate Bastille Day in France. The White House announced Wednesday that Trump has accepted French President Emmanuel Macron's invitation to help celebrate France's national holiday on July 14. Source