We had a big Alaskan earthquake on Friday morning. It was estimated at 7.0 magnitude, centered seven miles north of the city of Anchorage, and lasted for about 40 seconds. Several aftershocks hit for hours afterwards, the biggest around 5.0.
Because it was so close to where we live, we really felt it. This earthquake was the biggest I’ve experienced in my fifty years here. It started with a big jolt and shook the house hard enough to knock pictures off walls and books off shelves. I stood in a doorway while I listened to the quake rumble and things crash as they fell around the house. For me, the scariest part was wondering if it would get stronger and how long it would last. The kitties disappeared for a while—probably under a bed—but they’re fine now. My house had no obvious damage, and my family is all okay, so we were all lucky. Here’s a few shots of my writing study/guest room.
Around Anchorage, there was a lot of minor damage as ceiling tiles fell, shelves emptied, and water pipes broke. Power outages affected some residents. The Port of Anchorage and the Ted Stevens International Airport are operational. Public schools are closed for a few days while district employees assess damage and clean up schools. The biggest infrastructure damage was to roads. Some roads and on-ramps were damaged, and rockslides closed the highway around Turnagain Arm for a few hours. (I’m not going to post photos or video here because they’re all over the internet right now. I recommend KTVA, KTUU, and Alaska Public Media.)
A few houses reported gas leaks and other issues. Three structural fires were reported, and some injuries but no deaths. I think it helped that our building codes and regulations require that buildings be constructed to withstand earthquakes.
Thanks to our electrical, water, and gas folks for keeping things intact or fixing them ASAP! Thank you to the Municipality of Anchorage and nonprofits for setting up shelters and such for the people who had home damage or other problems. And kudos to all the Alaskans who helped their neighbors and friends.