August 31, 2013

Earthquake rocks islands off Alaska

The primary temblor is centered 1,200 miles southwest of Anchorage in the Aleutians.

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked Alaska's Aleutian Islands with a jet-like rumble Friday that shook homes and sent residents scrambling for cover.

"I heard it coming," said Kathleen Nevzoroff, who was sitting at her computer in the tiny Aleutians village of Adak when the major temblor struck at 8:25 a.m. local time, getting stronger and stronger. "I ran to my doors and opened them and my chimes were all ringing."

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries from the earthquake, which occurred in a seismically active region. It was strongly felt in Atka, an Aleut community of 64 people, and the larger Aleutian town of Adak, where 320 people live. The quake was followed by multiple aftershocks, including one measuring magnitude 4.9.

The earthquake didn't trigger a tsunami warning, but Michael Burgy with the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, said the center is monitoring for potential tsunamis caused by landslides, either on land or under water.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center said the primary earthquake was centered 67 miles southwest of Adak, about 1,200 miles southwest of Anchorage. Shaking lasted up to one minute.

The quake occurred offshore in the subduction zone where plates of the Earth's crust grind and dive. By contrast, California's most famous fault line, the San Andreas, is a strike-slip fault. Quakes along strike-slip faults tend to move horizontally.

In Adak, city clerk Debra Sharrah was upstairs in her two-story townhome getting ready for work when she heard a noise.

"I thought it was my dog running up the stairs," she said. "It kept making noise and then it got louder. So then all of a sudden the rumbling started."

The four-plex of townhomes was shaking and swaying as Sharrah and her dog dashed out the door. The only thing disturbed in her home was a stepstool that toppled over.

"Nothing fell off my walls, and the wine glasses didn't go out of the hutch or anything," said Sharrah.

 

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