Monday, January 25, 2016

Quake: 7.1

Here's the official scoop from our newspaper (Alaska Dispatch News) on the earthquake last night: "The magnitude-7.1 quake struck Sunday, January 24 at 1:30 a.m. and was felt from Juneau to Fairbanks. It was centered under a little-populated area on the west side of Cook Inlet, about 65 miles west of the town of Homer and about 160 miles southwest of Anchorage, and at a depth of 76 miles. The biggest aftershock Sunday was 4.7."

There was no tsunami threat because the quake was so deep. Quakes of this magnitude are not common, but there have been four in Alaska in the last five years. This one was significant because it was near populated areas. Alaska's Earthquake Center detected 40,000 quakes in 2014. 75% of all quakes with a magnitude greater than 5 occur in Alaska. 

It was the strongest earthquake in the south-central region in decades. No lives were lost, but four homes in Kenai were lost to gas leaks caused by the quake. Homes in Anchorage suffered little or no damage. Some businesses lost inventory that was precariously stacked. There was road damage, mostly near Kenai.

I was still awake quilting with the TV on when the quake occurred. I heard it long before I felt it. I shut off the TV and went to check on my mom whose bedroom is downstairs. I talked to her for the minute (or less) that the quake lasted. We discussed what we should be doing during a quake. I'd read that if you are in bed, you should stay in bed.

After the quake ended I went upstairs. The rest of the household had been sleeping, but the adults woke the children up. Everyone in the house--except Viva who fell back asleep immediately--was on an adrenaline rush. The suddenness and unpredictableness of earthquakes has that effect on the human body. We checked the house for damage. A few smaller things fell over (top heavy items) or rolled off shelves (Perplexus puzzle balls). One of our leaning stone columns along the driveway is now leaning even more. There was no significant damage to our home...that we can see. (I think the shower leak we had last year that resulted in us replacing the entire shower might have been caused by earthquake damage.)

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