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Strong Earthquake Rattles Yakutat, Felt in Whitehorse; No Damage Reported

U.S. Geological Survey

UPDATED: Seismic activity continued around Alaska into this morning, following the strong earthquake centered near Yakutat that rattled portions of southern Alaska and the Yukon Territory early Thursday.

Today’s temblor was mild compared to Thursday’s. The 3.9-magnitude quake occurred just after 6 a.m. on the Alaska Peninsula, in southwestern Alaska.

A 4.5-magnitude quake shook portions of northwestern Alaska at around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. It was centered about 30 miles east of Noatak, and it followed a 4.1-magnitude quake that shook the same area at about 6 p.m.

Closer to home, a mild 3.0-magnitude quake rumbled an area about 30 miles east of Talkeetna just before 4 p.m.

Natasha Ruppert is a seismologists with the UAF Geophysical Institute’s Earthquake Information Center. She says the magnitude-6.0 quake was centered in a rugged area about 62 miles northwest of Yakutat.

“This earthquake was in a very remote mountainous region – glaciated region, Ruppert said.”

Ruppert says that’s a very seismically active area, with a very complex intersection of tectonic structures. She says the Earthquake Information Center routinely monitors hundreds of small quakes in the area every month.

“Most of the earthquakes are very small and not felt by anybody,” she said. “But once in a while, you have a significant earthquake that’s large enough to be felt by people in that area.” 

The Associated Press says Yakutat-area residents reported feeling the temblor, and that reports also were received from as far east as Whitehorse, about 200 miles east of the epicenter.

Ruppert says the Earthquake Information Center didn’t get any reports from residents of the Interior.

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.