Online media and TV stations are spreading the news about a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that rocked Anchorage Alaska today Jan. 24 reminding Angelenos that this could happen again here. The temblor shook, rattled and rolled knocking items off shelves and walls and understandably jolting the nerves of residents. So far according to eturbonews there no reports of injuries, but four homes were lost to explosions or fire following the quake. The web site also reported that Alaska’s state seismologist, Michael West, called it the strongest earthquake 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 centers,” West said, adding that aftershocks could continue for weeks.
The tremor, which struck at 1:30 a.m., was centered 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. 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.
So far about 30 homes have been evacuated, and some people took shelter at the Kenai National Guard Armory. As with all quakes there have been aftershocks and a 4.7 was felt today with people bracing for possible others of 5 or 6 magnitudes. There have been reported of 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.
The quake also triggered a slew of social media postings under the hashtag #akquake especially 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.”
The news of the Anchorage quake is another wakeup call for quake-prone Southern Californians to be prepared.