ENVIRONMENT
11/30/2018 02:35 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2018

Massive Earthquake Hits Alaska, Continues To Deliver Aftershocks

The 7.0 magnitude quake struck just 10 miles from Anchorage, a city of 300,000 people.

Residents of Anchorage, Alaska, are assessing the damage from a massive earthquake that struck Friday morning and are breathing a sigh of relief after officials canceled tsunami warnings.

Measured as a magnitude 7.0 quake by the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake hit at 8:29 a.m. local time, with the epicenter just 10 miles from the city of nearly 300,000 residents. Residents of Fairbanks, a city of about 30,000 more than 350 miles away, reported feeling shaking there too.

The Anchorage Police Department said in a statement that there is “major infrastructure damage” throughout the city, but officials have yet to release any estimates of damage, injuries or fatalities.

“We are using the Alaska State Troopers aviation assets for damage assessment,” Police Chief Justin Doll said. “We are evaluating the damage. We’ve been in communication with the Alaska National Guard, moving emergency response personnel to areas we can’t get to, if necessary.”

People have begun to share photos and videos of destruction on social media. An image from the KTVA newsroom, the CBS affiliate station in Anchorage, shows collapsed tables and computers and TVs dangling from their mounts. All local TV stations were reportedly knocked off the air.

Other shocking photos and videos show collapsed roads with cars stranded on them, including these near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport:

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz issued an emergency proclamation for the city in light of the earthquake. 

Officials canceled a tsunami warning posted for the Cook Inlet and southern Kenai Peninsula near Anchorage. The National Weather Service had warned residents in Kodiak and Seward that tsunami activity could start just an hour after the earthquake struck. 

A 7.0 quake can be highly dangerous. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in Northern California was measured at magnitude 6.9 and killed 63 people, and the 1994 magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake in Southern California killed 57 ― though both quakes struck areas more populous than Anchorage. 

A National Weather Service employee on duty in Anchorage during the temblor called it “the scariest earthquake I have ever been in.”

Though the region appears to be in the clear for tsunamis, aftershocks pose a continued threat, scientists warned. 

“So far in this sequence there have been 4 magnitude 3 or higher earthquakes, which are strong enough to be felt, and 1 magnitude 5 or higher earthquakes, which are large enough to do damage,” the USGS said in a forecast

The agency estimates that within the next week, there is a 99 percent chance of aftershocks with a magnitude 3 or higher, a 78 percent chance of magnitude 5 or higher and a 27 percent chance of ones that are at least magnitude 6.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin released a statement that her “family is intact” but her “house is not.”

President Donald Trump promised to “spare no expense” helping those affected by the disaster. 

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