Alaska Rocked By More Than 200 Aftershocks Since Friday’s Massive Quake
As if the chaos that followed Friday’s magnitude 7 earthquake didn’t create enough mayhem for the residents of Anchorage, Alaska, USGS reported on Saturday that in the wake of what many Alaskans described as the worst earthquake of their lifetime parts of the state have already been rocked by more than 200 aftershocks.
And the quakes are expected to continue for “some time,” according to Seismologist Randy Baldwin. As of noon ET on Saturday, the official tracker on the Alaska Earthquake Center’s website stood at 224.
Residents were still shaken from Friday’s back-to-back magnitude 7 and magnitude 5.7 quakes, which destroyed roads and sent goods flying off of store shelves as people ran into the street for cover.
Shortly after returning, the second quake hit, and Alaskans went through the whole ritual again. Fortunately, there have been no reports of deaths or serious injuries (since the state is located above an area where two tectonic plates converge, Alaskans are accustomed to earthquakes – they experience more than the other 49 states combined).
Still, Alaskans insisted that this one was different, according to several people who shared their stories with CNN.
“It was absolutely terrifying,” Palmer resident Kristin Dossett said. “It shook like I have never felt anything shake before,” she said.
“It was very loud when it came,” Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said. “It was very clear that this was something bigger than what we normally experience. We live in earthquake country…but this was a big one.”
Philip Peterson was in a multistory building in downtown Anchorage as the structure swayed and coffee mugs fell from tables and tiles from the ceiling.
“I just jumped under my desk and had to ride it out,” Peterson said.
The magnitude 7 quake could be felt up to 400 miles outside of Anchorage. One seismologist described it as the worst earthquake to hit the state since 1964. Meanwhile, operations have resumed at a trans-Alaska pipeline that was briefly closed after the quake.
“I think it’s safe to say that, not measured in magnitude or location but in terms of how strong the ground itself shook during the earthquake,” he said during a question-and-answer session at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
The Anchorage police department reported “major infrastructure damage”, and helicopters and drones were still working on a damage assessment as of midday Saturday.