5.9-Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Parts of Alaska

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Alaska on Tuesday afternoon, causing moderate shaking that was felt in Anchorage, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries near the epicenter in Port Alsworth, a remote community with fewer than 200 residents some 135 miles southwest of Anchorage, said Michelle Torres, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Still, residents in the area of the earthquake and in Anchorage felt some strong shaking, said Jana Pursley, a geophysicist at U.S.G.S.

Jonathan Tytell, a geophysicist at U.S.G.S, said there would most likely not be a tsunami warning. The earthquake, which occurred about 2 p.m., was 94 miles below the Earth’s surface, a depth too deep to generate a powerful tsunami, he said.

There were no reports of aftershocks as of Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Tytell said, adding that the chances of strong aftershocks later in the evening were “small, but not impossible.”

“The chances of it are rare enough that I wouldn’t worry,” he said.

At least 134 people in the state reported to the U.S.G.S. that they felt shaking.

But Alaskans are used to that because there are “earthquakes going off all the time there,” Mr. Tytell said.

The Alaska Earthquake Center reported more than 49,000 seismic events in the state and nearby regions in 2020. The center also said that Alaska had recorded last year’s most powerful and third-most powerful earthquakes worldwide.

In July 2021, a 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the southern coast of the state and prompted a tsunami warning. It was the largest earthquake in the United States in 50 years, seismologists said, but the state was spared any major damage.

Last December, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of a remote area of southern Alaska, but it did not spark any tsunami warnings that could threaten the region’s sparsely populated string of islands.

In 1964, Alaska wasn’t as fortunate. The second-most powerful earthquake in world history, a magnitude 9.2, violently shook the state, killing more than 130 people and causing massive tsunamis.

That earthquake occurred about 15 miles below the Earth’s surface and its epicenter was about 90 miles east of Anchorage, Mr. Tytell said, distances that made it much more powerful than Tuesday’s earthquake.

“Within the next week,” he said, “the chance of a magnitude 6 or higher is about 5 percent.”

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