Major Quake Strikes Near Adak

A magnitude 6.9 6.4* earthquake struck near Adak Wednesday afternoon. City manager Layton Lockett says it felt like the earth was moving in circles underneath him.

“Middle of the day, everybody’s working and all of sudden it just hit. And it was long. It wasn’t a short earthquake, I want to say it was around 15-20 seconds.”

The earthquake was strong enough to knock objects off walls and shelves, but so far no injuries or major damage have been reported. Lockett says the city will continue to evaluate the situation.

“There’s no fuel leaks, no water leaks that we know of right now, but we’re checking.”

Alaska Earthquake Information Center seismologist Natasha Ruppert says at least a dozen aftershocks have been recorded so far, all of magnitude 3.0 or less. She says the earthquake was unusual for the region, in that it was caused by a break in the crust, as opposed to subduction. All along the Aleutian Arc, the Earth’s crust is weak from volcanic activity. In this case, it was so weak that it fractured. Ruppert says most major quakes in the area are the result of the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Aleutian arc.

The earthquake didn’t generate a tsunami alert.

*The preliminary estimate was 6.9, USGS revised the magnitude down to 6.4 after further analysis.

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