7.0 earthquake shakes buildings in Anchorage, Alaska
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake has rocked buildings in Anchorage, Alaska, causing lamp posts and trees to sway, and prompting people to run out of offices and seek shelter under office desks.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the earthquake Friday morning was centered about seven miles north of Alaska’s largest city.
Cracks could be seen in a two-story downtown Anchorage building, and photographs posted to social media showed fractured roads, as well as fallen ceiling tiles at an Anchorage high school. A large section of an overpass near the Anchorage airport collapsed, marooning a car on a narrow island of pavement next to where the road gave way.
The set of Anchorage TV station KTVA collapsed and was destroyed. Water was seen in hallways and there was more damage throughout the building.
The quake also disrupted electrical service and knocked out traffic lights in Anchorage, snarling traffic.
People went back inside buildings after the earthquake, but a series of aftershocks a short time later sent them running back into the streets again.
Similarities to the Nisqually quake
The similarities between this Anchorage earthquake and the 2001 Nisqually quake in the south Puget Sound area don’t end at their magnitude (the Nisqually quake was a 6.8).
“In both Alaska, and here in Washington and Oregon, we have plates that are subducting underneath us,” said Regional Shake Alert Coordinator Mouse Reusch. “These quakes are actually coming from that plate, which is about 40 kilometers under Anchorage; here in Seattle it’s about 50 kilometers under us.”
Earthquakes of that size often can cause billions of dollars worth of damage, evidenced by the $2 billion of damage assessed in Washington state following the Nisqually quake. That said, Reusch also doesn’t see the Anchorage earthquake as a harbinger of more quakes in the Northwest region.
Following the quake, there was a tsunami warning in effect as well. Around noon Friday, the National Weather Service was comfortable declaring there there would be no tsunami.
According to the NWS, there was never a threat to the Pacific Northwest area.
“We are not expecting any tsunami to come down and effect the Washington, British Columbia, or Oregon Coast,” the National Weather Service’s Jay Albrecht told KIRO Radio. “Any time an earthquake goes over 7.0 where a tsunami can possibly be generated, the warning goes out automatically because there’s not a lot of time to respond.”
Additional reporting provided by the Associated Press.