Earthquake felt on Kenai Peninsula

Wednesday, 6 p.m.:

 

There have been no reports of damage near the epicenter of an Alaska earthquake that registered at 5.8 on the Richter scale, said Ian Dickson, a research technician at the Alaska Earthquake Information Center.

“There’s not much out near the epicenter,” Dickson said. “It’s off the road system.”

Alaska Earthquake Information Center Director Michael West is a state seismologist. Wednesday’s earthquake was caused when pressure being exuded on the Pacific Plate, which is a tectonic plate wedged underneath the North American Plate, gave way, he said.

Since the North American Plate is above the Pacific Plate, it is much closer to the earth’s surface. West said many small earthquakes commonly occur in this shallow layer of the earth’s crust. 

Alaska experiences 100 to 120 every day in Alaska, but are most often too small to be felt, West said.

“This earthquake occurred in the Pacific Plate,” West said. “It was notable today because it was felt very widely.”

The Pacific Plate is some 100 kilometers below earth’s surface, and is constantly pushing further underneath Alaska, West said. Earthquakes that occur in that layer tend to be larger.

West said the fact that the quake originated far from any cities and in the deeper tectonic plate, made it slightly less significant as far as earthquakes go.

Many Alaskans do not know what big earthquakes actually feel like because they are rarely in close proximity to the epicenter, West said.

Under the right conditions, earthquakes with 5.8 magnitudes can kill people, West said.

“Had a magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred in the shallow part of the earth in downtown Anchorage, we’d have buildings on the ground today,” West said. “We get lucky again and again in Alaska because…most earthquakes don’t really intersect with our populations.”

 

Wednesday, 3:45 p.m.:

 

The Alaska Earthquake Center is reporting the earthquake that occurred at 2:32 p.m., originated at a depth of 71 miles, registered at 5.8 on the Richter scale, and had its epicenter 81 miles North-Northwest of Kenai.

 

Wednesday, 2:40 p.m.:

 

An earthquake near Anchorage on Wednesday registered as 5.6 on the Richter scale.

The quake occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, about 75 miles northwest of Anchorage, said Dara Merz, a research technician with the Alaska Earthquake Information Center.

“From what it looks like, it was most likely in the subduction zone,” Merz said. “The subduction zone is when the oceanic plate is subducting underneath the North American plate.” A subducting plate is one moving below another.

Merz said the data from the earthquake is still being processed, so its exact location and impact are close estimates at this point, and may change.

This is a breaking story. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

 

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com

 

More in News

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Alexis Alamillo, of Anchorage, carries a sockeye salmon caught in a dipnet from the mouth of the Kenai River on Wednesday.
Kenai River dipnetting now open 24 hours a day

The liberalization of fishing regulation was effective starting Thursday evening

A drone rises into the air while kicking up dust, departing on a test flight for the use of beyond visual line of sight drone aircraft, at Furie Operating Alaska’s central processing facility in Nikiski, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Drone test flight operates beyond visual line of sight between Nikiski and a Cook Inlet platform

The drone could perform deliveries to and from Cook Inlet platforms

A map of Lower Skilak Campground shows the areas that will be closed in July and August 2024. (Graphic provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Areas of Lower Skilak Campground to close for repair starting Monday

The East Loop will be closed — projected to be reopened at noon on Aug. 4

Kenai Courthouse is photographed on Feb. 26, 2019, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Sterling resident sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual abuse of minors

Additionally, Crane will face 15 years of supervised probation as well as sex offender registration and treatment

Shrubs grow outside of the Kenai Courthouse on Monday, July 3, 2023 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Former Soldotna police officer acquitted of 2023 assault allegations

He was found not guilty following a five-day trial in late June

A parade of cars and trucks flying flags in support of former President Donald Trump proceed down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Residents caravan across central peninsula in support of Trump

The parade came a day after an attempted assassination of the former president

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

Most Read