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Small earthquake shakes Southeast

Minor temblor felt in Juneau

Posted: October 4, 2012 - 12:56pm

A minor earthquake struck 97 miles northwest of Juneau at 8:25 a.m. Thursday morning and could be felt by some in the capital city, according to the Alaska Earthquake Information Center.

The quake, which was measured at magnitude 3.9 on the Richter scale, was just one mile deep — quite shallow, by earthquake standards — but it was weak enough and its epicenter far enough from any population center that there have been no reports of damage, said seismologist Natasha Ruppert at the Fairbanks-based AEIC.

“This was pretty far — relatively far — from any population centers,” said Ruppert. “Even 10 miles away, it wasn’t strong enough to cause damage.”

The epicenter of the quake was 42 miles southwest of Klukwan, the nearest populated place to where it hit.

Ruppert said earthquakes of this magnitude are relatively uncommon in Southeast Alaska.

“In that particular region, you don’t see that many magnitude 4s,” Ruppert said. “Maybe once every couple of months. These are much more common in the Aleutian Arc, for example, but not in Southeast Alaska.”

Three smaller quakes, ranging from magnitudes 1.6 to 2.6, struck in the same area Tuesday. Several other small quakes have been recorded in Yakutat Bay, at the northwestern extremity of the Southeast region, this week.

Aftershocks will occur from the Thursday morning earthquake over the next couple of days, Ruppert said, but they are not likely to pose any threat.

“There will be aftershocks, but they will be very small magnitude too, maybe up to magnitude 3,” said Ruppert.

Most earthquakes in the Aleutians occur deep below the surface, while Southeast earthquakes tend to be shallow, according to the AEIC’s data.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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