Earthquake jolts Anchorage

Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ANCHORAGE - An earthquake jolted Anchorage on Monday and was felt well beyond Alaska's largest city.

The 4.9 magnitude quake struck at 1:24 p.m. about 10 miles southwest of Anchorage, according to earthquake monitors.

There were no reports of injury or damage, but people reported that the earthquake "shook awful hard," said Cindi Preller, a geologist with the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.

One man who was standing close to the epicenter also had been through the 9.2 magnitude quake that struck Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1964, Preller said. That quake, the second-largest in recorded history, triggered a tsunami and left about 130 people dead.

"He was pretty rattled," Preller said of the caller. "It kind of shook back some of those memories."

The temblor was felt over a vast area in the state, including Anchorage, Palmer, Wasilla, Valdez and Homer. It was not expected to generate a tsunami.

In Anchorage, Lisa Withers initially thought a car had hit the building of the gift shop she manages inside Bell's Nursery, which carries a large selection of dishes and other breakables.

"Some flatware pieces fell off the stands," Withers said. "A few customers were nervous about the noise of glassware rattling."

Anchorage had reports of the strongest shaking, according to the Alaska Earthquake Information Center. A few residents reported that objects fell off shelves, and furniture and heavy appliances shifted, said state seismologist Roger Hansen, director of the center.

The initial magnitude given was preliminary only and Preller said it could turn out to be a magnitude 5.0 quake.



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