Major damage after magnitude 7 earthquake, 8 aftershocks rock Alaska, raising alarm for tsunami
The National Weather Service issued a tsunami warning for Cook Inlet and the southern Kenai Peninsula, however, this was later canceled
A major earthquake struck Anchorage, Alaska, Friday morning causing panic in the north of the city as fears of a tsunami were alerted. The magnitude-7 quake occurred around 8.30 a.m. local time with the epicenter just north of Anchorage, the most populous city in Alaska. Shortly after, the National Weather Service issued a tsunami warning for Cook Inlet and the southern Kenai Peninsula, however, this was later canceled.
Roads, bridges and buildings were damaged, and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker issued a declaration of disaster. Anchorage police reported "major infrastructure damage" and said "many homes and buildings are damaged. Many roads and bridges are closed."
Businesses shut for the day and schools were evacuated. Social media images showed the horrors as students took shelter under desks while sending texts from their phones, boulders peppered the highway, items tumbled from grocery store shelves, glasses broke outside buildings and towers shook like cradles. However, there were no reports of fatalities or injuries so far.
This is what happened on the 6th floor of the Nesbett Courthouse during the Anchorage #earthquake. Both attorneys jumped under their desks. Evacuated the building after the shaking stopped. pic.twitter.com/dqHGPCv6XO— Heather Hintze (@HeatherHintze) November 30, 2018
The U.S. Geological Survey reported at least eight aftershocks following the first quake. The largest, registering 5.7, was located in the city of Anchorage. The USGC estimated there is a low probability of fatalities, since most people in the region live in buildings that can withstand an earthquake but economic damage is possible.
Anchorage Police Department tweeted the intensity of the damage and alerted residents the best course of action would be to let family members know they are safe and help neighbors, especially the elderly and the disabled.
“We have damage to bridges. Some of the damage is more obvious; Some parts of the Glenn Hwy has sunken in and completely disappeared. We are assessing that. Significant damage that will probably take a long time to repair.” - APD Chief Doll#Anchorage #earthquake— Anchorage Police Department (@APDInfo) November 30, 2018
“If you get an opportunity, let your family in the lower 48 know that you’re safe. It’ll put them at ease. Don’t overwhelm the phone lines. Texting and social media is a smarter way to get to family and friends” - AFD Chief Hettrick#Anchorage #earthquake— Anchorage Police Department (@APDInfo) November 30, 2018
“Keep an eye on each other, check on your neighbors - especially if they are elderly or disabled. We did have some reports of building collapses. No details on that yet.” - AFD Chief Hettrick#Anchorage #earthquake— Anchorage Police Department (@APDInfo) November 30, 2018
The most powerful earthquake known to hit the Western Hemisphere was experienced in southern Alaska in 1964 - a 9.2 magnitude quake, with an epicenter about 75 miles east of Anchorage.