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Strong Deep-Sea Quake Rattles Unalaska

By | February 28, 2014

If there’s an earthquake in the ocean and no one’s there to feel it, did it really happen? On Wednesday in the Aleutian Islands, the answer was yes.

A 6.1 magnitude quake coming from unusually deep underwater shook Nikolski and Unalaska around noon on Wednesday.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center recorded the quake about 215 miles west of Unalaska. Courtesy AEIC.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center recorded the quake about 215 miles west of Unalaska. Courtesy AEIC.

Natasha Ruppert of the Alaska Earthquake Information Center said the quake happened about 180 miles underwater, about 215 miles west of Unalaska.

“So it’s quite large and quite deep, and this is very unusual, both for earthquakes around the globe, and in particular it’s a very unusual event for Alaska,” she said.

But that was all news to most Unalaskans — like PCR recreation assistant Jamie Mendenhall:

“Wow! But no, I didn’t feel anything,” she said on Thursday.

Most kids in the community center’s after-school program said they didn’t feel it, either. A couple of girls, like Karina Villamor, thought they might have:

“I didn’t, unless — was that [why] I fell over at my house? Oh, okay, then I felt it!” she said. “I was standing in the kitchen and I was boiling my eggs, and I fell over and my water spilled.”

Unalaska Methodist Church pastor Dan Wilcox said he felt the quake too.

“I was just sitting at the office at the Methodist Church there, and I suddenly realized that the picture on the wall next to me was kinda shaking a little bit, at which point I realized that the whole room was shaking a little,” he said.

But he wasn’t fazed. Like most Unalaskans, he’s felt quakes before.

Natasha Ruppert at the Alaska Earthquake Center said though this quake was larger than most, no damage was reported where it was felt. And she said the depth of the quake means it won’t create a risk for tsunamis or aftershocks.

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